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Loomis barn burglaries raise alarm

Thieves make off with loot from area barns
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Criminal opportunists have discovered Loomis and you could be a victim. Just ask the Vantacichs or the Newtons, both of Loomis. Their unlocked barns were easy targets for criminals who stole more than $3,000 worth of tools and equipment. Two other area barns were also burglarized. According to Dena Erwin, Placer County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, thieves are taking items “easily sold on the black market.” She said black market sales locations include eBay, craigslist.org and even Denio’s Farmers Market and Swap Meet, in Roseville. After their barn was burglarized, Frank and Laurie Vantacich placed a sign on Laird Road warning neighbors “Lock your barns, there is a thief in Loomis.” Frank Vantacich said that sometime between Aug. 11 to 13, someone entered their un-locked, Brace Road barn and stole $2,500 worth of equipment including weed eaters, chain saws, a power washer and assorted power tools. “You feel like you’ve been raped, violated,” Vantacich said. His neighbor Al Newton said a thief came to his Barton Road barn two different times and took items valued at $800. After he discovered his pole chain saw missing in late July, Newton said he started closing and locking his barn. On Aug. 10 or 11, Newton said a thief then entered through an unlocked barn window and stole his weed trimmer. “It’s very disturbing. It shows things have changed,” Newton said. He said he moved to Loomis 30 years ago and didn’t have to worry about someone com-ing onto his property and stealing. “It’s sad because people trust each other here. Now, you have to batten down the hatches and act like you live in the city,” he said. He said the burglaries have left his family feeling “vulnerable.” His wife, Debbie, called the thefts “disconcerting.” “It’s freaky, eerie to think there’s someone out there. I’ve had trouble sleeping at night,” she said. According to Erwin, a barn on No-Name Lane in Loomis was also burglarized in late July. A suspect cut the fence behind the barn, entered the barn and took a riding lawn mower, tires and tools. A barn owner on Carolinda Drive in Granite Bay also became a burglary victim after a burglar cut locks on his barn and took tools. The sheriffs’ report shows these two barns theft reports were made on the same day. The Vantacichs said dozens of passersby have stopped to comment after viewing their sign. “I’ve been out by the road gardening and people stop to share comments,” Laurie Vantacich said. She said that between she and her husband, at least 10 drivers have told them that they, too, were burglarized. A motorist pulled into the Vantacich driveway to ask about the thief sign while Frank Vantacich was being interviewed for this story. The driver, Julie Schmitz, who lives on Wells Avenue, told him that over the past two years numerous items “have turned up miss-ing” on her property. Her list includes bicycles and a canoe. She said that just last week, while they were away, cans of diesel fuel were taken and the diesel fuel in their truck’s gas tank had been si-phoned and stolen. She had not reported any of the thefts, but after speaking with the Vantacichs thought she would file a report. “We felt we were in a haven, we felt so comfortable. Now, you have to feel comfortable – with keys,” Frank Vantacich said.