The Merced County Sheriff’s Department broke up a cock fight and arrested four teenagers when they were caught fighting the stolen roosters at a Delhi residence Wednesday.
The investigation that led to the arrests began when the sheriff’s department took a report of stolen roosters from a home on Hoskins Avenue in Delhi. The owner said 10 breeding roosters worth $1,000 apiece had been stolen. The investigation turned up a couple of witnesses who reported seeing a green Honda Civic leaving the property and the victim said he had spotted a similar vehicle at a home in the 16000 block of Darlington Avenue in Delhi.
The deputies made a visit to the Darlington Avenue residence and could hear voices coming from the back yard, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
When a deputy announced their presence, a 14-year-old boy poked his head around the corner, spotted the deputies and promptly took off running. He was found a short time later hiding in a garbage can, MacKenzie said.
Along with the 14-year-old, the deputies detained three other individuals after catching them in the process of fighting two roosters, one with a spur taped to its leg. The deputies also found several dead birds and a few live ones, MacKenzie said.
Arrested were Kyle Clardy, 19, Aleida Quintana, 18, and two juveniles — a 17-year-old boy and the 14-year-old.
After some questioning from the deputies the foursome confessed to stealing roosters from multiple locations, MacKenzie said. The seven roosters they were making fight were stolen from a home on El Capitan Way in Delhi. The owner was contacted and confirmed that he was missing seven breeding roosters worth $1,000 each, MacKenzie said.
The teenagers confessed to taking 10 roosters from the Hoskins Avenue property on Tuesday, MacKenzie said. They told the deputies that because they had no place to keep the roosters, they had tied them up in an orchard.
The deputies located the orchard and found either dogs or coyotes had gotten to the birds and killed all 10, MacKenzie said.
The four teenagers were charged with animal cruelty, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of rooters for the purpose of fighting and two counts of grand theft.
Clardy was arrested in early December in Delhi when he was caught with stolen property including identification and credit cards taken during an auto burglary in Hilmar.
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