Tehachapi residents upset with string of local crimes, law enforcement and locals fight back

Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 12:19:20-04

A recent string of burglaries and vandalism in the Tehachapi area has residents fed up.

Monique Thompson and he coworker Lynnette Fleener showed up to work this morning at Dr. Ana Reyna’s office to find it had been vandalized overnight.

“It’s hurtful. It may not be exactly toward us, but you know? What the heck? Who does that?,” said Thompson as she looked at the graffiti.

The writing on the wall is just the most recent incident in a string of crimes this month.

Barry Jones, the owner of Barry the Blade Barbershop, showed up to his business on Saturday morning to find he had been burglarized.

“They didn’t take anything except the cash and the checkbooks,” said Jones.

Jones believes he was targeted because the criminal didn’t take anything else or sift through drawers to find the money. 

The door to the barbershop is now boarded up.

Also happening around town, multiple cars were spray painted last week. 

At Brite Lake, during the first weekend of the March, someone parked in an area they weren’t supposed to and apparently got stuck. They took out an electrical box and a trash can guardrail while trying to get their vehicle out of the mud. 

“What we as law enforcement consider low level type crimes are very serious to the victim so therefore we take it serious and we investigate those until we get an end result,” said Sergeant James Newell of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

KCSO and the Tehachapi Police don’t think all of the incidents this month are related.

Chief of Tehachapi Police, Kent Kroeger, said they have leads on the car vandalism and hope to make arrests soon.

“I believe we have the suspects identified in the vandalism from last week, we haven’t had an incident since that time so I’m hopeful that we have the right suspects identified,” said Chief Kroeger.

Even though law enforcement is investigating, a local business owner, Clifford Suazo, is also stepping in because he said the crime is getting out of control.

Suazo owns Savannah’s Bar and two other bars in Tehachapi. He decided to put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the burglary at Jones’ barbershop.

“Money talks and I believe in catching a criminal and getting them off our streets, you know?” said Suazo.

The victims are hoping the criminals get off the streets too and that justice is served.

“You need to come clean, it’s not right,” said Jones.

“I hope they get caught and I hope they have to get punished for what they did. It’s not right,” said Thompson. 

KCSO and Tehachapi PD are asking anyone with information about any of these crimes to please contact them.

Here is a list of tips from Tehachapi PD and KCSO about how to protect yourself from these potential crimes.


{C}1.    {C}Get to know your neighbors

{C}2.     {C}If you see something that looks off, report it to law enforcement

{C}3.     {C}Utilize websites such as NextDoor

{C}4.     {C}Park your vehicle in well lit areas

{C}5.     {C}If you’re a parent, make sure you know where your kids are and be sure to check their backpacks and bags for items that don’t belong to them.