Alberto Andrade


Alberto Andrade

Five Arrested in Farm Equipment Thefts

After months of pouring through 20 cases, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Rural Crime Unit arrested five suspects related to a string of farm equipment thefts in the Santa Maria and Nipomo areas at the end of last year.

Hector Ramirez, Alberto Andrade, Rigoberto Avila, Anthony Santella, and Marcos Cerda were taken into custody and charged with counts ranging from grand theft to conspiracy to commit a crime. A sixth suspect, Maria De Olmas, had already been charged and is facing two related counts.

The almost $40,000 worth of equipment was found in a few storage lockers in December. The haul included water pumps, generators, and copper wiring, as well as expensive agricultural chemicals and a wide range of farming tools. Most had been marked by the original owners and is being returned to them. The suspects were allegedly re-selling equipment to other unknowing farmers and street merchants.

The Sheriff’s Office extended its thanks to citizens who assisted the investigation with multiple anonymous tips.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Pair of F-22s Buzz Santa Barbara City College

Turbulence rattles windows and nerves on Monday morning.

Mandatory Evacuation Called for Fire Zones in Santa Barbara County

Heavy rains expected Tuesday-Thursday; debris flows feared.

Cannabis Farmer Gets Over $1 Million Insurance Payout

Thomas Fire ash destroys crop; analysis finds asbestos, lead, arsenic, and magnesium.

Next Debris Flow Could Take Different, Unknown Path

"I've never seen this degree of hazard," says Cal Fire scientist.

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.