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Lompoc business owners hire private investigators after multiple burglaries, one man in custody

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jan 06, 2020

The Lompoc Police Department is investigating nearly 30 commercial break-ins that happened in 2019, but business owners are turning to private investigators for help.

Jessica Tovar and her family want answers after someone tried to break into their business, Carniceria Jalisco on January 4, 2020.

"This is a family store, we have a lot of families come in walking here, it shouldn't be like this," said Jessica Tovar, co-owner of Carniceria Jalisco.

They are not the only ones. Baby's Nutrition, Valero Gas Station and Super Grill were also targeted in the last few days.

It's becoming so common, owners feel they’re being forced to ask private investigators for help. They understand police might give more attention to bigger cases.

"I think that there is just so many small crimes happening all day long that it's really hard to get to all of them in a timely manner. It's not like the town is full of crime, it's just the few people who move so quickly from store to store, house to house," said Tovar.

Lompoc Police say they have a detective specially assigned to the break-ins and actively working to solve them.

"The city of Lompoc experienced seven homicides in 2019. We have decreased manning, decreased resources to investigate the more serious crimes so unfortunately [burglaries] do not take a back seat because crime doesn't," said Detective Sergeant Agustin Arias.

Police arrested 27-year-old Dion Frederick in connection to at least 4 of the commercial burglaries over the last year. Officials are still investigating if he is involved with others.

Gold Coast Investigations is now looking into three of the break-ins at no cost.

"The idea is to lay down the foundation, prove our worth and then have the private sector in the crime prevention around town," said Joe Stetz, owner of Gold Coast Investigations.

Private investigators hope they can prioritize cases police might not, but nonetheless say they share information with authorities when they can.