A pair of women who live in the forested hills four and a half miles inland from the coastal town of Stewarts Point were arrested by Mendocino and Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies on suspicion of a series of burglaries in the town of Gualala.
Stewarts Point is in Sonoma County, on the northern coast at Fisherman Bay along the rocky coastline. There is Stewarts Point Store and Retreat, featuring ocean view camping, a small post office, farmland along the rolling hills at the coast, and not much else. Skaggs Springs Road brings you inland a few miles through the forest, where you will find Kashia Elementary School and a few scattered homes amid the foothills. When you find Tin Barn Road, you will be in the neighborhood of a couple of women who have been in trouble with the law before, and just got arrested once again.
51-year-old Claudia Marrufo and 29-year-old Latisha McCloud came under suspicion for a series of burglaries and forgeries in the town of Gualala, 10 miles north of Stewarts Point, and just across the Mendocino County border. Though still a small community, it has a lot more homes and businesses than Stewarts Point, including tourist hotels, restaurants, and shopping. Some of the businesses that reported the issues were Clutterbug, a scent, candle and perfume shop; Noma, a contemporary art and craft gallery; the Village Cobblery shoe store, and the Gualala Nursery. A total of $1500.00 was reported lost in merchandise.
Claudia Marrufo was already on parole in March of 2007 when she was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. She was arrested earlier this year, on February 2 on charges of petty theft. Though younger, Latisha McCloud has an even deeper history of trouble, starting with a 2005 arrest for DUI resulting in injury. She had several arrests in 2012 and 2013 for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and probation violations. And in April of this year she was arrested by the Sonoma Sheriff’s department on charges of forgery, passing bad checks, and being under the influence. She was also charged with failure to appear in court.
On Saturday, June 28, early in the morning, deputies from the Mendocino Sheriff’s department noticed a woman hanging around a closed Gualala business location, and approached her. She was identified as Claudia Marrufo, and the deputies learned that she was on probation from her theft charges earlier this year. Per the terms of her probation, they were allowed to search her and her vehicle, and located what appeared to be stolen property from some of the Gualala businesses. She was arrested on suspicion of attempted theft, possession of stolen property, and probation violations. She was also charged with being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bail was set at $30,000.00.
Pursuant to that continuing investigation, deputies from Mendocino and Sonoma counties served a search warrant at Latisha McCloud’s Tin Barn home a week later, on July 3. She was home when they arrived, and they located several more items that connected her to the reported burglaries and forgeries. She was also confirmed as a suspect in an ongoing forgery case from Sonoma County. She was arrested at 11:20 that night, and booked July 4, charged with four counts of forgery, four counts of burglary, one for theft, and five probation violations.