Visalia officers bust theft duo’s operations

(Rigo Moran)

Visalia Police Department recovers over $15,000 worth of materials stolen from home improvement stores, arrests a duo for grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft

VISALIA – Two men have been arrested for multiple instances of grand theft against Lowe’s and Home Depot stores, along with their plans to commit even more.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, the Visalia Police Department (VPD) Property Crimes Unit was contacted by Lowe’s Loss Prevention on South Mooney Boulevard regarding a theft in progress.

When detectives arrived on scene, they contacted Oscar Huerta, 45. Huerta had left the store with over $2,500 in stolen property. During the investigation, detectives found that Huerta had planned the theft with Jesus Gonzalez, 38.

Detectives attempted to stop Gonzalez in the Lowe’s parking lot, but he fled in a vehicle. The two suspects had also committed two additional thefts at the Lowe’s located on North Demaree Street in Visalia and in the city of Hanford. Over $10,000 of stolen property was recovered. Huerta was booked on grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft.

During a follow-up investigation, detectives found that Gonzalez had been involved in several retail thefts of Lowe’s and Home Depot stores throughout Central and Northern California.

(Visalia Police Department)

On Sept. 26, Property Crimes detectives and officers from the Special Enforcement Unit found Gonzalez in the city of Hanford. He was taken into custody, and a search warrant was conducted at a home in the city of Lemoore by VPD Property Crimes Detectives, Special Enforcement Unit Officers, Narcotic Detectives, and the Lemoore Police Department.

Additional stolen property was found from Lowe’s and Home Depot during the search warrant. The stolen property recovered is valued at over $5,000.

Gonzalez was booked on several theft charges, including grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft.

Property Crimes detectives are following up with Lowe’s and Home Depot regarding additional thefts that Gonzalez and Huerta have been involved in.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the VPD at 559-734-8117.

Sept. 27

At 3:32 p.m., Visalia Fire Department firefighters were called to the Family F.O.C.U.S Parkview Preschool on South Mooney Boulevard for a report of a fire.

When firefighters arrived, they saw flames coming from inside of the building. Five engines, two trucks and one breathing support unit responded to the scene. Crews worked together to quickly extinguish the fire.

Thankfully, no one was hurt. Everyone in the building had self-evacuated prior to crews arriving.

Family F.O.C.U.S (Fundamental Opportunities for Children’s Unlimited Success) is a pre-school and non-profit organization that provides full time care for families in Tulare County.

The area of origin of the fire was in the kitchen. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Sept. 24

Around 2:45 p.m., VPD officers were called to the Starbucks on Mooney Boulevard and Tulare Street for a report of an assault. When officers arrived, they were told the suspect, Elizabeth Arnold, 43, shot the victim in the eye with a “self-defense” rubber bullet gun during an argument. Arnold was arrested at the scene.

The victim was transported to Kaweah Health for non-life-threatening injuries. Arnold was transported and booked at the Tulare County Adult Pre-Trial Facility for assault with a deadly weapon.

That same day, just after 1 p.m., VPD officers were called to the 700 block of Church Street for a report of a man with a gun. As officers were checking the area, they found a loaded AR-15 style rifle with a modified stock and 170 grams of packaged fentanyl in the backyard of a home. A large amount of cash was also found.

The investigation led officers to arrest Enrique Gomez, 31, and Angelo Meza, 27, for conspiracy of narcotic sales and possession of illegal firearms. Both men were booked at the Tulare County Adult Pre-Trial Facility

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