Public Assistance is requested to help Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies with the Rural Crimes Unit, locate a suspect wanted in connection with a series of burglaries at several farms in the unincorporated area of Santa Maria.
After more than a month-long investigation, Sheriff’s deputies arrested two people believed responsible for breaking into at least four farms in the area and stealing about $70,000 worth of equipment, vehicles and tools. Last week, January 29, Sheriff’s deputies arrested 30-year-old Travis Grant of Santa Maria for burglary, grand theft, felony vandalism and conspiracy. They also arrested 33-year-old Ernest Johnson of Santa Maria for possession of stolen property. A warrant has been issued for a third suspect, 32-year-old Shaun Axe of Santa Maria, who is wanted for burglary, grand theft, felony vandalism and theft.
The investigation began on Christmas Eve last year, when Sheriff’s deputies took a burglary report at Agro-Jal Farms located on the west side of Santa Maria. The next day on Christmas, Babe Farms located a few miles away, was burglarized as well. In both cases, thieves broke into numerous sheds and storage containers and stole tools and equipment. The following day, December 26, 2013, the suspects returned to Babe Farms and were in the process of burglarizing the property when they were interrupted by an employee who came to work at 3:30 a.m.
The employee witnessed the suspects take off in two separate vehicles and deputies also found a third partially dismantled truck, all of which had been stolen from farms in the area. Sheriff’s deputies recovered the vehicles involved and inside found stolen equipment from Babe Farms, Encino Valley Farms, Fresh Bounty Farms and Agro-Jal.
Deputies also recovered additional stolen farm equipment at a residence in Santa Maria where one of the vehicles was located. If you have any information on these crimes or the whereabouts of Shaun Axe, you are asked to call Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Rural Crimes investigator Deputy McCarthy at 805-934-6512 or to leave an anonymous tip, call 805-681-4171.