Here is the latest "City Watch" alert from Deputy Jim DeSoto of the Thousand Oaks Police Department. If you are interested in receiving these updates directly from him via email, click here for more information.
Crimes in other parts of the county sometimes occur locally as criminals are often mobile. In Ventura, Hispanic males are targeting people over 50 years of age. The suspects approach the victim(s) and claim to be from a roofing company and the suspects are there to inspect the condition of the roof. Once inside the residence, several more Hispanics arrive, enter the home, and walk through the structure and different rooms while claiming to look at the ceiling and support structures. One suspect distracts the victim(s) while they pilfer property from different rooms. It is not until after the suspects leave that the victim(s) realize they were duped.
Does this incident sound familiar? Con artists use many techniques and ruses but ultimately the method is the same—gain trust, enter a residence, use a distraction and take property. With the short and long term effects of the economy in question, I expect property crimes and the number and methods of defrauding to increase. For example, in Thousand Oaks one person fell victim to a ‘secret shopper’ scam and another fell victim to a mail lottery scam.
The suspect in the attached photos burglarized lockers at about 15 separate 24-Hour Fitness locations throughout southern California. He started in early 2008, and his last offense was in Thousand Oaks on 12/30/08. In the most recent incident, he was chased into the parking lot by employees but escaped. His method of operation is to enter the gym using the last victim’s membership card. He enters the locker room, breaks into a locker, and takes the victim’s wallet. The suspect has been known to surveillance the locker room for up to two hours, apparently looking for someone who looks similar to him. After the theft, the suspect immediately uses the victim’s credit cards at local establishments and likely shows the victim’s ID when requested. The attached photos are from a Santa Barbara fitness center. If you have any information regarding this person, please contact Detective Brian Sawicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Locally, the Kinder Care locations have been the scene of two thefts. The victims parked and locked their respective vehicles in Kinder Care parking lots. The victims went inside and returned to their vehicles to find that some hooligan smashed the right front passenger window and took property. Both victim vehicles were SUVs. This illustrates an example to be aware of your surroundings at all times. When you leave anyplace, check to see who is around and when you get to your destination continue to examine the immediate area.
In Newbury Park area, ‘residential burglaries’ are the operative words. Unknown suspect(s) attempted five different residential burglaries on Glider Court. Access was gained to the backyard by an unlocked side gate or by climbing over the fence. The suspects(s) removed the window screen by force but were unable to bypass the locked windows. These attempted burglaries happened during the night when the residents were home. In another part of the city, a resident was alerted by a trespasser who was using a flashlight and peering into the house. The suspect was gone by the time the officers arrived.
As these incidents indicate, please be careful, alert, lock and secure your homes and vehicles, and report all suspicious people, vehicles, and activities to our dispatch center, 805-654-9511. With your assistance, we can all be safe.