Marisela Gonzalez; Suspect Involved with Incessant Large Scale Farm Theft in Fillmore Arrested and Arraigned

Marisela Gonzalez; Suspect Involved with Incessant Large Scale Farm Theft in Fillmore Arrested and Arraigned

A 20-year-old Fillmore man has been arrested for stealing several hundred pounds of plants from a local nursery. In the early morning hours of September 15, 2022, a patrol deputy located an unoccupied and illegally parked vehicle in the alley of the 400 Block of Central Avenue in the city of Fillmore. The deputy noticed a large amount of Rosemary plants inside the vehicle, unbeknownst to the deputy, the plants had been stolen a few hours prior.

Later the same morning, a local rancher called the Sheriff’s Office to report that his nursery had been the victim of a theft. A suspect had cut and stole several hundred pounds of Rosemary plants from their fields during the night.

Fillmore detectives and patrol deputies quickly followed up and investigated. Detectives identified Jose Hernandez, a Fillmore resident, as the suspect. Hernandez has a history of committing similar crimes. In 2019 Hernandez was arrested for stealing Bay Laurel plants from a nursery located in the same area as this crime.

On September 15, 2022, deputies located Hernandez along with his vehicle in the area of Saratoga Avenue in the city of Fillmore. Hernandez had attempted to conceal his vehicle by parking away from his residence. Upon contacting Hernandez, detectives located several hundred pounds of fresh cut Rosemary and evidence linking the plants to the nursery where they had been stolen. The stolen plants were returned to the nursey without being damaged.

Hernandez was taken into custody and booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility for felony grand theft of agriculture crops and possession of stolen property. Hernandez remains in custody with his bail set at $10,000. His next court date is set for September 19, 2022 at 1:30 PM.

This arrest was made possible due to the “Farm Watch,” a partnership between the farming community and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. Farm Watch is a county wide electronic neighborhood watch program that is distributed to more than several hundred farms, ranches, nurseries, and supply houses.

This program provides information to ranchers on agriculture crime trends and on how to react and treat the crime scene so that potential evidence is preserved for immediate processing by deputies of the Ventura Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information pertaining to crimes of this nature are urged to contact the Fillmore Police Department at (805) 524-2233, Detective Valdez. The reporting party may remain anonymous. The Fillmore Police Department encourages citizens to immediately report suspicious people and vehicles, and to promptly report any crime they come across by calling 911.

“The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank members of the public for their on-going support and due diligence in providing information to assist our agency in solving crimes. We are better at what we do because of our community partnerships” said the sheriff’s office

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