Sheriff's program helps identify stolen equipment

Published: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 - 8:47 am

The Yolo County Sheriff's Office is offering a free crime prevention program to help farmers and ranchers protect equipment.

The initiative, known as the "owner-applied number program," operates as part of the statewide Agricultural Crime Technology Information and Operations Network, or ACTION program.

Under the program, farmers and ranchers are issued a unique number that can be stamped, engraved or branded on equipment. The owner maintains the number for use in identifying items, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

The numbers are entered into state and federal computer systems if the item is reported stolen. The owner- applied number is used in addition to the equipment serial number issued by the manufacturer.

The program is offered in Yolo County by the Sheriff's Team of Active Retired Seniors, or STARS, at no cost to the property owner. STARS volunteers visit farms and ranches by invitation and apply the numbers to equipment selected by the owner. The number is then provided to the Sheriff's Office if the property is stolen.

Law enforcement agencies can use the number to track stolen items through the California Department of Justice and National Crime Information Center computer systems. If a stolen item is identified in the system, it can be returned to the owner and the information used to prosecute the offender, officials said.

To date, STARS volunteers have visited 16 Yolo County agricultural businesses and marked more than 1,900 items.

Individuals or businesses interested in participating in the crime prevention program can call Suzanne Ramalia at (530) 668-5298 to schedule an appointment.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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