DATE OF EVENT: April 21, 2021
TYPE OF EVENT: Grand Theft and Vandalism
LOCATION: City of Ridgecrest
PC 487(a) – Grand theft property exceeding $950
PC 594(b)(1) – Vandalism
PC 496(a) – Possession of stolen property
PC 466 – Possession of burglary tools
PC 979 – Bench warrant
SUSPECT: Ernest Patrick Skinner (33 YOA) Ridgecrest resident
On 4/21/2021, at about 0930 hours, Officer Cushman was dispatched to a report of a theft in the 1200 block of S. College Heights Blvd. Upon his arrival, Ofc. Cushman contacted the victims in this case. They reported they were in the process of installing a solar field in the area. They went on to say that at some point during the night, an unknown subject entered the solar field and stole a large amount of copper wire, damaging the solar banks in the process. The victims estimated the theft and damages were close to $20,000.
Ofc. Cushman was able to locate bicycle tire tracks and other evidence on scene. He, along with the help of Det. Hallmark, was able to locate a suspect in this case and identified him as Ernest Skinner. They contacted Skinner in the 1200 block of S. Primrose St. Skinner was in possession of copper wire that linked him to the theft. Additionally, he was in the process of getting a ride to a recycling center so he could sell the stolen copper wire.
Skinner was transported to his residence and a probation search was conducted. Officers found additional copper wiring as well as the insulation that had been stripped from the wires. Officers also found bolt cutters that still had the insulation on the blades. The insulation from the wires was positively identified by the victims as belonging to their solar project.
Skinner was placed under arrest and transported to the Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield. He is currently in custody and being held on $60,000 dollar bail.
Jed McLaughlin, Chief of Police
PREPARED BY: Sgt. Groves