Crime

Package thefts lead to arrest of SLO man, jail time for Arroyo Grande woman

Woman caught on camera stealing boy’s birthday gift from Nipomo family’s porch

A Nipomo man captured a woman stealing a package from his doorstep on his home security camera on Nov. 8, and now he’s asking the public’s help to identify her.
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A Nipomo man captured a woman stealing a package from his doorstep on his home security camera on Nov. 8, and now he’s asking the public’s help to identify her.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department plans to recommend charges against a man arrested over the holiday weekend on suspicion of stealing a package from a front porch.

The incident comes after an Arroyo Grande woman spent about two weeks in San Luis Obispo County Jail for a similar offense.

On Friday morning, officers were dispatched to the 2100 block of Harris Street after a witness allegedly saw a man steal a package from the front porch of a home. The witness provided a description, and officers located Billy Don Huerta about 45 minutes later on Prado Road near South Higuera Street.

Huerta, 50, of San Luis Obispo was still in possession of the package stolen from the porch, police said in a news release. Huerta also was found riding a bicycle that he admitted to stealing, the department said. The bicycle, though, has not been reported stolen in the city, and Huerta would not tell officers where it came from.

Police are looking for the owner of the bike, which is described as a beige Felt MP beach-cruiser-style bicycle.

Huerta was booked into County Jail on suspicion of possession of stolen property and misappropriation of found property. He is no longer listed as in custody.

No formal charges have yet been filed against Huerta, who records show has had 10 local misdemeanor, infraction and parole violation convictions since January 2014 for charges including battery, illegal lodging and drug possession.

San Luis Obispo police Lt. John Bledsoe said the department forwarded its report recommending charges to the District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday.

Though the office had not yet received it Wednesday morning, Chief Deputy District Attorney Sheryl Wolcott said Huerta has a tentative court date scheduled for Feb. 22.

Huerta’s arrest follows the conviction of an Arroyo Grande woman who was captured on a Nipomo homeowner’s security camera last month swiping a package — later described by the homeowner as a toy Lego set he’d ordered from Amazon for his 2-year-old son.

Monica Menchaca, 36, was facing two misdemeanor charges of petty theft and another charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance. At her arraignment four days after her arrest, Menchaca pleaded no contest to one count of petty theft and was immediately ordered to begin serving a 45-day County Jail sentence. With conduct and other credits, she served about 13 days and is no longer in custody.

However, Menchaca also is to serve two years of bench probation, submit to chemical testing and must stay at least 50 yards away from the home from which she stole the package.

Menchaca has past convictions in San Luis Obispo County for misdemeanor charges of petty theft and possession of a controlled substance, according to court records. Records show that past convictions for shoplifting and possession of burglary tools were dismissed in 2015 following completion of a drug program.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department wrote in a news release last week that it saw an increase in thefts of mail and packages left unoccupied outside homes in the weeks leading up to the holiday season.

Matt Fountain: 805-781-7909, @MattFountain1

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