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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Oxnard

Man Held in Thefts From Field Workers

November 02, 2000|TIMOTHY HUGHES

An Oxnard man was arrested on suspicion of stealing stereo equipment from the cars of farm workers while they picked fruit and vegetables at farms in Camarillo and Oxnard, authorities said.

"The cars were locked but [workers] were at a disadvantage because they were way out in the fields," said Sheriff's Sgt. Pat MacAuley, who investigated the case.

Santiago Gaona, 27, was arrested during a traffic stop about noon Tuesday and booked on suspicion of burglary and possession of burglary tools, MacAuley said.

Detectives found 25 auto stereos, amplifiers and speakers as well as cell phones and compact discs in his car, MacAuley said.

Ten detectives worked the case for two weeks before making the arrest, MacAuley said. He said at least 40 people had property stolen from them. Gaona was planning to sell the equipment on the street "but there is very little money in it," MacAuley said.

"He would prey on the farm laborers," he said. "If he was confronted by supervisors, he would say he was looking for work."

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