Crime

Arrests made in alleged thefts of Nipomo, Santa Maria farm equipment

Alberto Andrade
Alberto Andrade

Five men have been arrested for their suspected involvement in the theft of thousands of dollars worth of agricultural equipment from Santa Maria Valley and Nipomo-area farms, ranches and construction sites.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, with help from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, completed a five-month investigation into the theft of about $38,000 in materials, authorities said. Stolen items included water pumps, generators, chemicals, hand tools, broccoli bunching machines and copper wire. The equipment was found in December in two Santa Maria storage lockers.

Investigators believe suspects sold the allegedly stolen equipment — thought to have been taken between May and December 2015 — on the street or to unsuspecting farmers. Much of the stolen property was marked with a business name and was returned to its owners.

Alberto Andrade, 33, of Cambria was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of commercial burglary, grand theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit a crime. Four Santa Maria men were also booked: Marcos Adame, 22, on suspicion of possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit a crime; Rigoberto Avila, 22, on suspicion of grand theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit a crime; Hector Farfan Ramirez, 36, on suspicion of grand theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy; and Anthony Santella, 30, on suspicion of commercial burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime.

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