Suspect tried to hide stolen .40-caliber handgun in trash can, officers say

Taft Police arrested a man seen discarding a weapon into a trash container early Tuesday and ended up recovering numerous items stolen in a recent burglary, including two firearms and two television sets.

Sgt. Shad Swanson said a police sergeant on patrol spotted a subject later identified as Mitchell West in the south alley of the 300 block of Center Street about 1:45 a.m.

As the sergeant approached, he saw West place an item in the trash dumpster.

West was contacted and it was determined there was an active warrant for his arrest for removing an ankle bracelet placed on his as condition of release from a prior conviction.

Police found several items of jewelry on West, and recovered a .40-caliber handgun from the trash, Swanson said.

Both items matched the description of items taken in the burglary, which was reported on Monday.

Police and Kern County Sheriff's deputies followed up on the arrest and searched a residence on North Street, Swanson said, recovering additional property taken in the burglary, including a 30.06 bolt-action rifle, two televisions, and other miscellaneous electronics.

West is being held without bail in the Kern County Sheriff's Central Receiving facility in Bakersfield.

He faces several felony counts from the Taft arrest, and jail records show he is also being held for prior convictions of possession of marijuana for sale from Shafter and possession of a stolen vehicle from Ridgecrest.

Tuesday's arrest led to the filing of charges of burglary, carrying loaded forearm with a prior felony conviction, possession of ammunition by a person prohibited from carrying a firearm, carrying a loaded, stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

West was arrested and booked into the Taft Jail on his active arrest warrant and open charges including burglary, carrying a loaded firearm in public, possession of a stolen firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, and felon in possession of ammunition.