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Barstow Man Arrested After Series of Tailgate Thefts Totaling $20,000 in Damages

BARSTOW, CA ( – A 29-year-old Barstow man connected to a string of vehicle tailgate thefts was arrested this week.

Between January 14 and January 21, 2024, Barstow witnessed an unusual crime wave as six Toyota Tacoma tailgates were reported stolen, totaling an estimated loss of $20,000.

The first reported theft incident occurred at the 2200 block of Muriel Drive on Sunday, January 14, 2024, where Barstow Police Officers were called to investigate a stolen tailgate from a Toyota Tacoma.

The same day, another tailgate theft was reported, marking the beginning of a series of similar crimes within city limits.

Barstow Police Department’s persistent investigation paid off when Officer J. Gatti identified a Grey Nissan Altima in connection with the thefts.

On January 21, thanks to Officer Gatti’s diligent work, the vehicle was suspected of heading to the Los Angeles area, possibly carrying multiple stolen tailgates.

Working collaboratively with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, officers intercepted the suspect vehicle in Palmdale, CA. During the traffic stop, the driver was identified as Jeffery Villavicencio.

(Photo Credit: Barstow Police Department)

Inside the grey Nissan Altima, authorities recovered five stolen Toyota Tacoma Tailgates.

 “The total loss to the victims was approximately $20,000,” the Barstow Police Department said in a news release.

The Barstow Police then secured a warrant to search Villavicencio’s residence located at the 700 block of E. Virginia Way.

The search operation led to the discovery of a loaded 9mm un-serialized handgun and over $3,700 in cash.

Villavicencio was arrested and taken into custody, booked at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Barstow Jail.

He faces multiple charges, including grand theft (PC 487(a)), possession of stolen property (PC 496(a)), and possession of an un-serialized firearm (PC 29180(g)).

The Barstow Police Department emphasizes that the investigation is ongoing and encourages anyone with further information to reach out.

Witnesses or individuals with information can contact Officer J. Gatti at the Barstow Police Department by calling 760-256-2211.

Those choosing to provide information anonymously can do so through We-Tip by calling 1-800-78-CRIME or visiting their website

(Photo: Barstow Police Department)

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