Deputies stressed that it is important for farmers and ranchers to report crimes as soon as they occur on the farm or ranch.
"Farmers think that we don't have time to follow up on $2,000 in stolen wire. They write it off as being part of doing business. But if you are a victim of a theft, you need to report every single missing hay bale and case of stolen metal so that we can set up on these guys and catch them," Glaser said.
Yolo County Farm Bureau Executive Director Denise Sagara said an online reporting system set up for farmers in the county about 10 years ago had not been very effective. But after speaking to county officials recently, she said funds are available to upgrade the system.
"More people use email now than they did 10 years ago, so we think this time the online reporting can work really well," Sagara said. "We're making a push again, telling people to report everything that happens. Right now, people only report if they are going to make an insurance claim. If property has been reported stolen and deputies run across the stolen property, they will know who it should be returned to."
She said the county task force "has been exceptionally effective and had some really impressive results."
Sagara added that the Farm Bureau and Yolo County promote use of the Owner-Applied Number system that helps law enforcement quickly match up an OAN with the grower to whom it belongs. The OAN enables law enforcement agencies to pinpoint ID numbers within any state and county in the U.S., whether stolen equipment is found within the same county or across the country.
"It is important for farmers and ranchers to identify equipment and property with an OAN, and report crimes as they occur," Sagara said.
Ag Theft Task Force Capt. Larry Cecchettini said the sheriff's office is receiving positive feedback from farmers and ranchers regarding the new task force.
"Now that farmers see that people are going to jail and they are getting their equipment back, they are jazzed and are calling a lot more," Cecchettini said. "Plus, we're trying to make it more Internet-friendly, where they just fill out a few tidbits of information on the Internet and it comes straight to here and somebody gets on it."
For more information about rural crime prevention and the OAN program, see the California Farm Bureau Federation website at www.cfbf.com/ruralcrime/.