BARSTOW — A 43-year-old transient accused of stealing a 15-passenger van from B.E.S.T. Opportunities earlier this week was behind bars and expected to appear in a Victorville courtroom for arraignment Thursday afternoon.

Barstow police arrested Gabriel Moses Tafoya on suspicion of vehicle theft after he was found walking in the 200 block of East Main Street on Tuesday.

Officers responded to a report of a vehicle theft at B.E.S.T. Opportunities, 120 Cal Ave., at approximately 8:30 a.m. Tuesday after employees found one of their vans was missing from the lot.

Police reviewed surveillance footage and saw a man approach the van, gain entry and drive away. Police said they recognized the suspect from prior contacts and positively identified him as Tafoya.

The stolen van was found parked and unoccupied in the Vons parking lot a little after 11 a.m. Officers searched the surrounding area but did not find Tafoya.

Evidence technicians processed the vehicle for evidence then released the van to B.E.S.T. Opportunities.

Police say they found Tafoya walking on East Main Street at approximately 3 p.m. and obtained evidence linking him to the stolen van.

Tafoya was being held at High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto in lieu of $50,000 bail, booking records show.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call the Barstow Police Department at 760-256-2211. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip hotline at 800-782-7436 or visit