Ventura County – Stealing a man’s (or woman’s) horse or the saddle attached to it used to be the kind of crime that would get a guy swinging from a tree and doing a dance like no other. The severity of the crime may have been somewhat mitigated in our time, but the ire it raises among the public and the law enforcement community seems not to have waned.
When reports as early as February of this year began coming in to the Ventura County Sheriff indicating that burglaries had occurred at eastern Ventura County ranches resulting in the loss of more than a dozen high-end competitive hunter-jumper saddles valued at more than $53,000. At that point, with what Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Det. Ken Truit characterized as “no solid leads”, detectives initiated an investigation that led to the discovery of two of the stolen saddles which had been been mailed by an individual going by the name of “Matthew Gregory”.
Unable to locate Mr. “Gregory”, detectives performed some high-tech gumshoe work, and found fraudulent bank records for the individual attempting to ship the two stolen saddles, complete with photographs of him. Sheriffs promptly released the two photographs of this individual “in the initial attempt to identify and locate him,” Truit reported, and shortly thereafter they began receiving calls from members of the public identifying “Matthew Gregory” as, in fact, Gregory Dale Andersen, a 49-year old resident of Malibu.
It didn’t take long for law enforcement to locate and arrest Andersen, who, according to Truit, is suspected of burglarizing multiple ranches throughout Ventura County and selling over $180,000 in stolen equestrian supplies over the past several years. He had apparently been successful marketing stolen saddles and tack over eBay, where he had multiple account names and numbers. On November 21st Andersen was booked into Ventura County Jail on charges of burglary, identity theft, and possession of stolen property, with his bail set at $500,000.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Sheriff
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