Stolen tools, work trucks and trailers. It's an alarming trend happening in East Bakersfield.
"We had a cargo trailer full of our stamping equipment and certain tools in there, that was stolen from my house, off my truck," said Jerry Fuentez, who is a victim of theft.
Over the past six months, Fuentez's family-owned contracting business has hit by thieves.
"It's almost like they were watching our houses and stuff, like they know us, maybe," he said.
Two of his work trailers were stolen - one of them which was later sold four times.
"They painted it a different color but we knew it was ours because of certain things that we had done to it," said Fuentez.
He said he usually parks his work truck at home in a Northeast neighborhood he considers to be safe.
But now he is forced to buy separate property to keep his equipment from being stolen again.
"We're getting it fenced in, barb wires," he said.
According to the Kern County Sheriff's Office, tool theft has gone up 11.1% since last year - with 16 thefts being reported on the east side. Vehicle vandalism is up 19%.
"They're selling them, trading them for drugs, selling them at yard sales, selling them on craigslist or they're selling them at swap meets," said Commander Tyson Davis.
Ashley Glover, Crime Prevention Specialist, said the increase indicates there's a market for these items, so it's up to each person to be aware of their property.
"Even little things like gym bags or stinky old lunch pails - people leave them in their car thinking that they have no value, but for people who are just walking by looking for an easy smash -and-grab, they will break into those cars," Glover said.
She recommends using wheel or a hitch lock on trailers or taking any other preventative measures that will deter people from stealing.
"You have to be so vigilant to not leave anything in your car no matter what it looks like because if there's any object in your car, people will break in," she said.
Officials also said you're responsible for making sure you haven't bought any stolen property.
If you have a serial number for an item that you recently purchased, you can call KCSO's non-emergency line at (661) 861-3110 and ask the dispatcher to check if it was reported stolen.
If you're the victim of theft, you're asked to report it immediately.
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