Detectives say suspects from Riverside County stole copper wire, other items valued at over $100,000

Detectives from the Kern County Sheriff's Rural Crimes Investigations Unit arrested two Riverside County men after a three-month investigation into a series of oilfield thefts in the Taft area.

The RCIU said the thefts all occurred on Occidental Petroleum Company’s property and the items taken during the thefts included spools of copper wire.

Other tools, equipment, and have been taken along with several vehicles in the past. The loss from the thefts exceeded $100,000, detectives said.

During the investigation, detectives were able to identify one of the subjects and placed him under surveillance.

On Monday as a result of the surveillance, detectives were able to determine the suspect, identified by the RCIU as as Bobby Davidson, 33 of Perris Ca, from Perris to Taft. The suspects then went to a storage yard operated by Occidental Petroleum Company.

The storage yard was an electrical storage yard and is located on Midway Road between Lincoln Street and Taft Highway. Detectives determined the loss was several spools of copper wire and tools. Detectives located Davidson, with stolen items, at a residence in Lake Elsinore. Detectives from the Rural Crime Investigation Unit and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department arrested Davidson and an additional subject, identified as Thomas Baumbach, 57 of also of Perris and arrested them for the theft from the Occidental Petroleum Company’s storage yard. A third subject fled on foot as detectives arrived at the residence.

Baumbach and Davidson are both charged with grand theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy.

Bail for both is $30,000.

Baumbach, however, is also being held without bail on two out-of-county warrants for grand theft and vehicle code violations plus no-bail parle holds.

An investigation into the identity of the third suspect is ongoing.

Detectives searched the residence in Lake Elsinore and located items stolen from Occidental Petroleum Company and several other companies, including Ardent Electric, the Griffin Company, McKee Electric, and other companies.

The investigation is on-going and detectives are attempting to identify other victims and tie the suspects to other reported thefts. The subjects stole over approximately $100,000 worth of equipment during the multiple incidents and investigators were able to recover $50,000 worth of equipment as result of the investigation.