That's about half of the cars stolen in Taft this year

The arrest of two men in early November may have gone a long way towards ending an outbreak of car and truck thefts in Taft.

Chief of Police Ed Whiting said the pair has confessed to involvement in 23 car thefts in Taft.

That's about half of the 47 vehicle thefts investigated by Taft Police through early November.

"We think we're going to see a significant decrease in the number of car thefts," Whiting said

Both men have recent prior convictions for auto theft, according to court records, and one of them, Jason James Alfter II, had pleaded no contest to one count of auto theft in Taft.

Alfter is in Kern County Jail awaiting sentencing on January 3.

His codefendant, Robert James Scott,has pleaded not guilty and is due back in court for a status conference and preliminary hearing next week

Alfter and Scott were arrested in a parking lot on the 600 block of Center Street on Nov. 8 a short distance away from where a stolen truck was discovered.

Both suspects have recent convictions for auto theft.

Alfter was sentenced to 40 days times served for an auto theft conviction in Bakersfield just a week before he was arrested in Taft, Kern County Superior Court records show.

Scott is scheduled to be sentenced next week on the same case.

Whiting said he wasn't sure of the motive.

Just stealing cars for joyriding is one possibility.

At the time of the arrests, Lt. Pete Aranda said police hadn't been notified that any stolen vehicles were being recovered at chop shops in the area.