Orchard theft deterred when guard finds stash of avocados

July 12, 2013
Santa Paula News

The theft of a large amount of avocados from a Santa Paula area ranch was deterred when a security officer found the fruit piled under trees waiting for a pickup, according to Ventura County Sheriff’s Detective Ray Dominguez, author of the Farm Watch Newsletter.

In the July-August Farm Watch Dominguez noted, “Recent reports indicate that avocado and copper wire thefts continue to be a problem. A substantial theft of avocados was reported from a farm in Santa Paula; luckily an observant security officer found the fruit piled under trees and was able to recover the fruit, and thus thwarting the crooks’ plan to return for it at a later time.”

The ranch that was targeted for the avocado theft is located southeast of Santa Paula city limits, above the Santa Clara River in the South Mountain area. 

Copper theft is also a continuing problem, with a recent case centered on wiring stripped from pumping equipment. Recent thefts also include fungicides and a forklift stolen from the Camarillo/Oxnard Plains area.

Dominguez noted that those living in the unincorporated areas that have ranching operations should be aware. “Remember, if you discover a theft has occurred, please contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 654-9511 or 911 in an emergency, and keep people and animals out of the area to avoid contaminating the crime scene.” Dominguez said it is very important that no one be allowed to “touch or move anything in the area, as they may be contaminating or destroying otherwise viable evidence.”

The following advice is always wise if you suspect illegal activity on your ranch property: call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 911 and be a good witness by noting suspect descriptions such as age, height, weight, facial hair, clothing and even shoe type. If a vehicle is involved, obtain a license plate number and note vehicle color, body damage, bumper stickers, camper shell, after-market tires and wheels, and any other information such as make and model if possible. 

Provide the dispatcher with information about the time and last known direction of travel of either a vehicle or suspects on foot. Never confront anyone you find on your property - call 911 if someone should not be there.

If you are not sure of how to address a problem or would like additional crime prevention tips, contact a local Sheriff’s Office substation (there is one in Fillmore) or Dominguez at (805) 384-4726 or by email at ray.dominguez@ventura.org.

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