Cinema looters nabbed

Cinema  looters  nabbedBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

The Ridgecrest Police Department arrested two Ridgecrest residents suspected of burglarizing the Ridgecrest Cinemas last month. Suspects Raphael Schumacher, 37, and Rolando Estrada, 41, were both booked in the Bakersfield Central Receiving Facility and are awaiting court hearings.

On July 19 around 10:40 p.m., RPD responded to the cinemas regarding a burglary in progress. The building had been considered unsafe after last month’s earthquake sequence, triggered by the 6.4-magnitude quake on July 4. Officers were unable to locate any trespassers, but discovered that the business had been burglarized.

After collecting evidence, including video surveillance from the cinemas and surrounding businesses, officers identified Estrada as a person of interest.

As the officers were conducting the investigation, a citizen’s tip led them to Schumacher’s residence where they located the reportedly stolen property and arrested him on July 23. Officers subsequently located and arrested Estrada and recovered more suspected stolen property.

According to Ridgecrest Cinemas General Manager Kelly Walden, the suspects stole or damaged more than $30,000 worth of the theater’s equipment, of which she estimates that only $10,000 worth has been recovered in working order.

“A giant shoutout to RPD, who spent countless hours going over the scene and evidence and trying to figure out who did this to us,” said Walden.

Both suspects are facing felony charges of second-degree burglary and looting during a state of emergency. Schumacher is facing a third felony charge of receiving known stolen property.

Schumacher’s pre-preliminary hearing and setting of preliminary hearing date is set for Aug. 6, 10:30 a.m. in Ridgecrest. Estrada’s pre-preliminary hearing was Thursday morning in Ridgecrest.

Story First Published: 2019-08-02