SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - A Paso Robles man was arrested last week after several rare bronze train parts and other expensive items were stolen from Santa Margarita Ranch.
The theft and vandalism was reported to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office on Monday, Oct. 11.
Crews responded to the ranch on the 9000 block of Yerba Buena Avenue in Santa Margarita and learned that the items stolen included several pieces of a steam locomotive train which were made of solid bronze and valued at more than $10,000.
The sheriff's office explained these train parts are extremely rare with only eight sets of them made. One set is in New York and the other seven are in California including the set taken from Santa Margarita Ranch.
In addition to the train pieces, two generators, drones and other equipment were taken with an estimated value of about $20,000 making the total estimated value of the thefts about $30,000.
During the course of their investigation, sheriff's deputies found evidence linking the crimes to a man located in rural Paso Robles.
On Wednesday, Oct. 20, deputies and sheriff's detectives served a search warrant at a home on the 3000 block of Bridle Trail Lane in rural Paso Robles.
Crews said they were able to locate some items which were thought to be stolen inside the home, but none related to this case.
However, they did find receipts for recycling centers in Santa Maria and Nevada.
When deputies reached out to the recycling center in Santa Maria, they found most of the train parts, equal to about 800 pounds of bronze. The Nevada recycling center reported receiving additional stolen items.
In all, deputies were able to recover and return about $20,000 in stolen property from this incident.
The 33-year-old Paso Robles man was arrested and faces charges for grand theft and receiving stolen property. He was booked into the SLO County Jail.