FSO foils computer equipment caper

Deputy recovers over $5 million in stolen equipment, driver remains at large

By Mid Valley Times Staff
Published March 13, 2024  • 
3:00 pm
(Fresno County Sheriff's Office)
(Fresno County Sheriff's Office)

FRESNO COUNTY – The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office (FSO) remains on the lookout for the driver of a van that was carrying over $5 million in stolen computer equipment.

According to an FSO press release, at about 11 p.m. on Feb. 28, a deputy noticed a white 2013 Nissan van driving erratically on southbound Highway 5 near the Highway 33 connector.

FSO Public Information Officer Tony Botti said the van was weaving in and out of traffic.

After pulling over the van and speaking with the driver, Manuel Romero Acosta, 49, of Burbank, the deputy learned that the van may have been used in a crime. As a result of this information, the deputy performed a search on the van.

Inside the van were multiple boxes that contained new computer components. Since it was unknown if the computer equipment was stolen, the deputy had the van towed to a storage facility. The deputy issued Acosta a ticket for driving without a license.

(Fresno County Sheriff's Office)

On March 5, the deputy carried out a search warrant on the van. During the search, it was determined that the components had been stolen from the San Francisco Port Authority. FSO contacted the owner of the equipment – memory devices and data storage servers. The owner estimated the equipment’s value to be about $5.1 million.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Acosta, who is in the wind. Botti said Acosta has a July court.

When asked why the driver of a van carrying stolen equipment would drive erratically and, therefore, call attention to himself, Botti replied, “Well, we don’t always arrest the smartest people.”

Mid Valley Times Staff