On Tuesday, December 30, 2016, around 11 a.m., Porterville police officers discovered a theft under false pretenses at Barnes Welding Supply in Porterville.
Information received determined that the unidentified suspect entered the business, posing as an employee of a construction company and fraudulently obtained equipment. The suspect billed the equipment, later determined to be a plasma cutter valued at $1,750, to the unknowing construction company.
Employees became aware of a similar scam attempted by the same suspect at multiple other welding supply locations, both in Visalia and Bakersfield. Follow up with these businesses, as well as with the West Valley Construction Company, confirmed that the purchase was fraudulent.
At 3:51 p.m., the suspect, 36-year-old Troy Worthen, returned to the business to pick up the equipment he previously called about and he was subsequently arrested. A female accompanying Troy Worthen, identified as 28-year-old Tiffany Johnson, was also arrested. Johnson was determined to have aided Worthen in the thefts and also to have an active no-bail warrant for a probation violation.
The stolen property was already sold by Troy Worthen to a Bakersfield resident, using the website Offer Up. The equipment has been located and is scheduled to be returned to Barnes Welding. Both suspects were booked into the custody of the Tulare County Sheriff on grand theft and conspiracy.