KINGSBURG – A 75-year-old Fresno man has been arrested after he was found in possession of a number of stolen goats, according to a Fresno County Sheriff’s Ag Task Force detective’s report.

Manuel Hernandez was arrested and booked into the Fresno County Jail for possession of stolen property, as well as outstanding warrants for driving on a suspended license.  His bail is set at $11,000.

ATF detectives received a tip through Valley Crime Stoppers in March that some recently stolen goats were being kept at a ranch at 1279 W. North Ave. in Fresno. 

Detectives found 18 goats in pens at the property and identified five of them as belonging to members of the Kingsburg 4-H Club. The 4-H’ers had filed a report with the Sheriff’s March 11 that a club member’s goats had been stolen. They’ve recovered all nine of their stolen goats as four were found roaming along a road days after being taken. 

Two of the other goats on the North Avenue property were determined to belong to another person who had also filed a theft report with the Sheriff’s Office. All seven goats have since been returned to their respective owners. 

It has not been determined whether or not the remaining 11 goats were stolen. As a safety precaution, detectives transported those goats to a boarding facility to allow time to try and track down their potential owners. 

Any citizen who had their goats stolen should contact the Ag Task Force immediately to see if any of the remaining goats are their property.

Detectives assigned to the Ag Task Force continue their investigation into this series of goat thefts.  From Jan. 9 to March 11, there have been nine different reports of goat thefts. A total of 70 goats, totaling $28,000 in losses, have gone missing from different private properties in the area between Easton and Riverdale.

Ag Task Force detectives are also working with investigators in Kings and Tulare counties to try and generate leads in these cases. As of March 26, there are still seven cases that remain open with 59 goats outstanding.  

Detectives offer these tips to help protect your livestock:

  • Make sure your fencing and gates are secure.
  • Stay vigilant by watching your property for suspicious activity. Spread the word to neighbors and friends to do the same.
  • Consider locking up animals during the night.
  • Invest in trail cameras, which could capture images of suspicious vehicles and license plates.
  • Monitor websites where buying and selling take place.
  • Attend auction yards to view animals being sold. If your animals appear to be on the grounds, notify the auctioneer immediately to delay a sale.
  • Report any theft of livestock to local law enforcement right away.

Anyone with information on cases of goat theft is asked to contact the Ag Task Force at 600-8150, Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867 or www.valleycrimestoppers.org. You may remain anonymous and may receive a cash reward. 

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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