Here is the latest "City Watch" alert from Deputy Jim DeSoto of the Thousand Oaks Police Department. If you would like these updates directly from him via email, click here for more information.
The hucksters and charlatans continue to be out in force devising methods and schemes to get their gluttonous, greedy hands on your money. The swindlers are very effective in their corrupt crafts as many victims continue to become prey to the duplicitous scams. The “I am your _____ (familial relationship) and I have been arrested in foreign country” is back. This time “nephew” was in Spain with his attorney, “Mr. Weber.” After a hefty wire transfer, the victim found himself being duped out of over $1,000.00.
An elderly person’s banking account was somehow illegally accessed and depleted of its funds after he received a few phone calls from a non-existent mortgage company. The victim is adamant that he did not disclose any personal or financial information, but somehow this bogus business managed to get access to the victim’s funds and accordingly depleted the nest egg.
In another ruse, the victim was smarter than the con artist who telephoned the victim and stated there was a problem with the victim’s computer. After the victim asked a few questions about computers and operating systems, the caller decided to hastily end the call. Whether the thief was attempting to gain access to the victim’s computer through a server or obtain personal information is unknown. Be aware, however, that you may receive a phony phone call with an elaborate or straightforward scheme wrapped and presented in manner that, in your best interest, you need to comply. Hang-up the phone and avoid future dilemmas.
Another victim fell for this very simple and easy theft. “If your lawn could look better…if it looks a little yellow…if it is brown in some areas, it can be more of a vibrant green” and “Don’t’ worry because I will cover your lawn with this scientifically proven fertilizer. It is guaranteed to work and I will only charge you ten dollars per bag—no labor charge!” Wow, what a deal and the victim verbally assents. Within a half hour the victim is charged over $1,400.00 for 145 bags of fertilizer. No, this person’s backyard was not the LA Coliseum and not knowing any better, the victim writes the check and it is cashed within minutes. Most of these scams involve the elderly, as they are frequently isolated, trusting, and do not have anyone available to protect their interests; but they may also happen to you. These scammers have been frequently seen throughout Thousand Oaks so please spread the word so others will not be victimized.
More landscaping thefts
Landscapers are still being targeted for their equipment that is frequently left unattended while the landscaper is busy doing the work in the back yard. Another expensive lawn mower was stolen and in a different incident the entire truck and its contents were taken. As the landscaper was walking to his tuck that was parked adjacent the curb, he saw an unfamiliar person standing near his truck. A van then pulled along side the work truck and the van’s sliding door opened. Another suspect inside the van was pointing a gun at the victim. The group in the van took the keys from the victim and subsequently made their getaway. The truck was found later but absent all the landscaping equipment.
The police will never figure it out
During a probation search, multiple items of electronic equipment were found and, not surprisingly, the suspect did not have a satisfactory explanation about the goods. The suspect, however, had to be released because the officers did not have enough facts to arrest him. Later, a detective was going through the pictures that were on the camera and he recognized a person on a photo. The detective soon located the victim who was living on the east coast. The victim was visiting friends in Thousand Oaks when her vehicle was broken into and the victim’s property was taken. The detectives were very pleased to re-visit the smug and ostentatious suspect who was quickly introduced to handcuffs and booked in the jail for possession of stolen property. This person undoubtedly was responsible for multiple vehicle burglaries.
A school of burglary
The Conejo Valley Adult School on Old Farm Road has been broken into multiple times during the past few months. Except for one incident, the crimes have primarily consisted of vandalisms within and outside many classrooms. As of this time, we do not have leads and we are asking for your assistance. If you or anyone else knows any information on these break-ins, please either let me know through TO City Watch or through Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. All information will remain confidential.
Why go to the movies?
The Thousand Oaks Police’s bicycle team continues to do great work. Last time I wrote about them, the team made multiple arrests at a local motel. This time the pedaling party squashed the enterprise of a peddling pirate. A self-enterprising solicitor of pirated and plagiarized pictures was selling his wares to many customers from a van at a local strip mall. When the bicycle team went to see what the sale of century was about, they immediately saw hundreds of illegally copied and packaged DVD movies. Now the suspect is relegated to watching regular television at the jail.
Batteries and vehicles
Three victims were returning home when the welcoming committee greeted them. The committee consisted of seven suspects who were happy to see the victims make it home safely. The safety of the victims, however, was the last concern on the suspects’ minds. The seven suspects used their fists and shoes to strike the surrounded victims multiple times. The battery was so severe that two victims lost consciousness. The free-for-all fracas was over a posting on a social media site. The detectives investigated the incident that resulted in the arrest of three adults and three juveniles and all the suspects found themselves in either the county jail or juvenile hall. I am sure the welcoming committee at the jails were more than happy greet the new residents.
A male subject was more than happy to give two females a ride from Ventura to The Oaks to pick-up a vehicle. From The Oaks, he followed the females to an apartment complex where the females called AAA in order to get some personal effects out of a locked vehicle. When the AAA employee opened the vehicle door and found no proof of the females having personal effects in the car or having any connection with the vehicle, the technician thought something was underhanded and called the police. When the officers responded, they discovered the male subject had multiple dangerous weapons that were hidden on his person. In addition, the female’s vehicle was a reported stolen vehicle. Her excuse that the owner was deceased did not hold much weight after officers spoke with the owner. The next time the arrestees need temporary housing they should bypass AAA and call the police directly.
Residential burglaries and getaways
The “Let’s break into the rear of the house after no one answers the front door” criminal technique still frequently happens. A couple of adults decided to use that technique while the resident was too busy on the Internet to answer the door. A few minutes later, the victim heard noises coming from the master bedroom. Thinking it was too early for Santa Claus to make a visit, the resident armed himself with a knife and confronted the now startled intruders. Seeing the armed resident, the bungling burglars scrambled out the bedroom and into the bathroom where they scampered out the bathroom window. The responding officers were unable to locate the prowlers but I am sure they will never again do their holiday shopping at that residence again.
Another suspect also had bad timing when he committed his residential burglary. Finding some down time from his tree-cutting job, the suspect decided to go for a leisurely walk from his job and go exploring in a nearby residential tract. Like most residential burglars, he pretended to be a solicitor and was passing-out brochures. After finding no one home, he decided to forcefully make his way into the house via an unsecured window. The suspect filled his pockets with the pillaged property and left the residence. His day abruptly changed when two contractors working on the same house noticed the house was burglarized. They also noticed the evidence left by the thief, saw the thief later and gave chase. The suspect thought he would try hiding in a different house but the owners inside the house would not have any of his shenanigans and detained him. Stolen property and burglary tools were recovered and the thief continued to build his resume as a tree trimmer and burglar.