6 arrested in equipment theft investigation

April 24, 2016
Alberto Alvarez Andrade

Alberto Alvarez Andrade

Following a five-month joint investigation, sheriff deputies from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties arrested six people suspected of participating in an agriculture and construction equipment theft ring.

Deputies investigated more than twenty different cases involving several farming and ranching businesses throughout the Santa Maria Valley and Nipomo area between May 2015 and Dec. 2015. Investigators believe the equipment and chemicals were stolen, stored, and then sold either on the street or to farmers who did not realize they were purchasing stolen items.

The stolen property ranged from water pumps, generators, expensive agricultural chemicals, hand tools, strawberry starter plants, weed eaters, backpack sprayers, broccoli bunching machines, drip tape, copper wire, and other related farming equipment. The total loss of property stolen is approximately $38,000, with $20,000 in chemicals and equipment recovered.

Deputies discovered the stolen equipment in a Santa Maria storage locker in December. Officers first contacted Maria De Olmas, 50, of Santa Maria, who is facing one count of possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit a crime.

On Friday, deputies arrested Alberto Alvarez Andrade, 33, a former resident of Cambria; Hector Farfan Ramirez, 36, of Santa Maria; Anthony Avelino Santella, 30, of Santa Maria; Rigoberto Cadena Avila, 22, of Santa Maria; Marcos Cerda Adame, 22, of Santa Maria and booked them into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges related to burglary, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of stolen property.

Theft storage



  1. demiseofslo says:

    Does that guy have a mustache growing on his forehead??!!

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  2. achillesheal says:

    They are here to do the jobs that Americans won’t do, like grand larceny.

    (12) 14 Total Votes - 13 up - 1 down
  3. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    Better have a chip on all your stuff so if it is stolen, you can track it.
    Even better, don’t buy expensive equipment from a seller without a title , APCD papers, or any other paperwork. Duh!

    (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  4. justbeware says:

    The Chamber of Commerce estimates 75% of employees steal from the workplace. Most of which do so repeatedly.
    Employee Percentages

    1. Amount stolen annually from US businesses by employees – $50 billion.
    2. Percent of annual revenue lost to theft or fraud – 7%
    3. Percent of employees who have stolen at least once from their employer – 75%
    4. Percent of employee who have stolen at least twice from their employer – 37.5%
    5. Percentage of all business bankruptcies caused by employee theft – 33%

    (15) 15 Total Votes - 15 up - 0 down
    • October says:

      Does making a copy of a personal document on a company copier count as stealing?

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • agag1 says:

        Technically yes.
        Similar to the customer filling his water cup with soda. If you didn’t pay for it, it’s stealing.

        (15) 15 Total Votes - 15 up - 0 down
        • Jorge Estrada says:

          Have you ever questioned your medical bills and or the payment made by your insurance company? If not then you probably were an accessory to the crime, $ billions of well coded fraud claims on a daily basis.

          (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  5. jonhartz says:

    And your point is? Man up and show us your point, hombre.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  6. CentralcoastRN says:

    These “entrepreneurs” have come to recognize that field work alone does not pay the bills. So, following the lead of American politicians, they are “re-appropriating” to subsidize their lack of funding. It’s the new American way to success guys. And we think our immigrants don’t want to fit in!!!! What a hopeful and uplifting story!!!!!

    (17) 31 Total Votes - 24 up - 7 down

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