Kern County Sheriff's deputies have arrested 3 people and recovered about $20,000 in stolen oilfield equipment taken from western Kern County oilfields.
The Sheriff's Office made this news announcement Saturday afternoon:
Saturday morning at about 3 a.m., a deputy from the Kern County Sheriff’s North Area substation was patrolling the oil fields in the area of Lokern Road west of Highway 33, west of Buttonwillow, due to recent thefts in the area.
A security guard flagged the deputy over and pointed out two suspicious vehicles with trailers that were seen in the area.
The vehicles fled the area at a high rate of speed.
The deputy caught up to the vehicles on Lerdo Highway, eastbound from Lost Hills Road.
Both vehicles ran the stop sign at Main Drain Road at about 80 to 85 miles per hour.
A second North Area Substation deputy responded to assist.
Both vehicles were stopped on Rowlee Road, south of Lerdo Highway.
Suspected stolen property and approximately 1.5 grams of suspected methamphetamine were located in a white 2007 Chevrolet Silverado driven by 27 year old Yibrian Ochoa of Bakersfield. Ochoa’s passenger was 22 year old Kelly Sharer of Bakersfield.
Another man, 22 year old Adrian Araujo of Bakersfield was the passenger in the second vehicle, a white sports utility vehicle.
Araujo was found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine.The driver of the white sports utility vehicle was released at the scene, pending further investigation.
Suspected explosive material was located in Ochoa’s vehicle. The Kern County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad responded.
The substance was determined to be an industrial lubricant and non-explosive.
A North Area Substation detective arrived on scene to assist. Further investigation revealed Ochoa, Sharer, and Araujo were in the area this morning attempting steal items belonging to oil field companies. Ochoa was also in possession of stolen property from a previously reported oil field burglary. Ochoa told investigators he had several items of stolen property in his garage that were taken during several oil field burglaries that occurred in the area over the past two months. North Area Substation deputies contacted the Kern County Sheriff’s Rural Crime Investigation Unit (RCIU) to assist.
The Rural Crime Investigation Unit, a North Area Substation sergeant, and two deputies from the Sheriff’s Metropolitan Patrol Division responded to the 6200 block of Royal Coach Drive.
Deputies located suspected stolen tools, computers, electronics, and oil field equipment valued at approximately $20,000 in Ochoa’s garage.
Oil field theft burglary victims from nine separate cases were contacted and went to Sheriff’s Office Headquarters to inspect the recovered stolen property.
Page 2 of 2 - Six of the victims were able to identify about $10,000 worth of stolen property that seized from Ochoa’s garage.
Ochoa was booked into the Central Receiving Facility Jail and is being held in lieu of approximately $130,000 bail for the following charges: six counts of second degree burglary; six counts of possession of stolen property; and one count of attempted grand theft. Sharer was booked into the Central Receiving Facility Jail and is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail for the following charges: attempted grand theft; possession of a controlled substance; and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Araujo was booked into the Central Receiving Facility Jail and is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail for the following charges: Possession of a controlled substance and attempted grand theft.
This investigation is ongoing. If you are a business owner or individual who has been the victim of theft in the oil fields west of Buttonwillow over the past two months and have not reported it, please contact the Kern County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at (661)861-3110 to report the theft. If you have previous reported a theft and can identify your stolen property, contact Senior Deputy Casey Brunsell of the Kern County Sheriff’s Rural Crime Investigation Unit at (661)817-5883.
Anyone having information on this incident is asked to contact the Kern County Sheriff's Office at (661) 861-3110 or contact Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040.
Anonymous "text" tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Just type the key word "KCSO" prior to the message.