Deputies search for serial thieves

Sheriff’s Dept. asks public for help finding two men who stole over $52,000 in equipment

@TheSunGazette

TULARE COUNTY – The Tulare County Sheriff Department have been following a rather long and expensive trail of stolen property, and now they are asking the public to help them take their case the rest of the way.

On Monday, April 8 detectives asked for the public’s help in finding 23-year-old Cody Bierman and 50-year-old Ralph James, both of Kingsburg. Detectives believe both men are responsible for a series of burglaries since January.

Cody Bierman, 50, and Ralph James, 50. Submitted photo.

Cody Bierman, 50, and Ralph James, 50. Submitted photo.

On Jan. 8 of this year, deputies were called to burglary at a house in the 41300 Block of Road 40 in Reedley, where the suspects broke into a shop building and took several motorcycles and an Arctic Cat. The total estimated loss was $26,000. 

On April 4, detectives from the Sheriff’s County Apprehension Team Tracking Criminals  (CATTCH) team received information that the stolen property was being kept at StorMax Self-Storage Facility in Dinuba. During a search, detectives found a 2008 Yamaha and a WR450 dirt bike, which was stolen in connection to this case. The recovery value was estimated at $1,700. The stolen property was returned to its rightful owner.

Detectives also found another motorcycle and quad, which had been reported stolen out of Fresno County.  The owners of those vehicles were notified and got their property back.  Meanwhile, on March 18, deputies met with employees from Sun West Fruit Company about a forklift that was stolen from their shop yard in Dinuba.  The suspects got into the compound and drove away with the 1993 Toyota forklift worth $15,000.  A damaged fence at the scene revealed the forklift had been driven away toward Avenue 376.

On April 4, detectives discovered the forklift had been taken to a Tow Company in 13000 block of S. Elm Avenue in Caruthers. The next day, Detectives contacted employees at the Tow Company who verified they had traded a vehicle and a motorcycle for the forklift.  They led detectives to a nearby home in the 5200 bock of W. Saginaw, where the stolen forklift was stored. 

Detectives also found a stolen transport trailer, which had been used to move the forklift.

On April 5, Detectives from the Property Crimes Unit connected several suspects to an address in Kingsburg, where they served a warrant at a home in the 5800 block of Avenue 376.  At the house detectives found more stolen property, including a large rollaway Craftsman toolbox and one oxygen and acetylene tank set.  These items were found to be connected to other burglaries currently under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.

The case remains active and anyone with information call Tulare County Sheriff›s Office at (559) 733-6218, or through email at tcso@tipnow.com.

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