Retired officer helps catch Fullerton horse thieves

FULLERTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A retired police officer is credited with noticing something odd on a Fullerton street, which led to the arrest of two suspects accused of stealing a beloved horse from a neighborhood ranch.

The owners of Coyote Hills Ranch in Fullerton were relieved to see their 17-year-old horse, Bailey, back in action.

Early Sunday morning, she was taken from her stall.

Police said two people broke into the ranch, opened the gates of several horses and stole Bailey.

Not long after, officers found a man and a woman walking a horse about a half mile away. The quick response was due to a retired police officer in the neighborhood who spotted the suspects first at about midnight and found the sight to be a bit suspicious.

"A retired police officer happened to be in the area and he saw two people walking down the street with a horse which, as we all know, in this day and age, is not usually something you see around midnight," said Sgt. Jon Radus of the Fullerton Police Department.

Police identified the suspects as 54-year-old Ronald Hicks and 28-year-old Dalida Morales. They were facing charges of grand theft livestock.

Ranch owner Tim Howells said he had asked them to leave the ranch earlier that day because they were acting suspicious.

"She identified herself as Pocahontas and that she was taking the horse back to Disneyland, which surprised us," Howells recalled.

Police arrested the pair and said Hicks tried to kick out the back window of the patrol car.

The horses were back at the ranch Monday and back to helping children.

The non-profit, Tara's Chance, helps kids with mental and physical disabilities by teaching them to ride and do tricks on horses like Bailey.
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