Good Morning Ojai.
I can’t believe that summer is behind us and the heat is still here. And your favorite police department is working to keep you safe while wearing wool and Kevlar. Oh well, it is all part of the job.
Recently here at the police station we have seen an upswing in thefts of scrap metal. Now why would anyone want your old junk? Have you ever heard the old saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” Well, that is true in this situation. Scrap metal is a valuable commodity at recycling centers. Throughout the region, prices have increased steadily in the past few years.
We have all seen people going through trashcans that have been put out for collection. As long as the harvester is not creating a mess and littering, this is perfectly legal. The problems we are seeing is when thieves enter farms, ranches and storage yards and remove huge amounts of piping, scrap metal, and copper tubing that is earmarked for other purposes. That can cause the victim thousand of dollars in replacement costs.
I recently went to a call where a man had the catalytic converter stolen off his truck. All total, Ojai got hit for five catalytic converters that day. Now you might ask why anyone would want a catalytic converter. It is for the same reason, scrap metal. Catalytic converters contain precious metals and are hugely valuable at recycling centers. Our crooks are targeting late-model Toyota pick ups. The reason for this is that Toyotas are designed for easy replacement of the converter. They are held in place with only 4 bolts, where other cars have them welded to the exhaust pipe. If you have an early 90’s Toyota truck, it might be worth it to go to your favorite mechanic and have them weld the catalytic converter in place. A little bit of money now might save you a bunch later.
A big problem for residents of the Valley is when crooks enter abandoned, vacant or otherwise unoccupied buildings and strip wire right out of the walls! All the wiring in your house is made of copper, as are the pipes in your plumbing system. Copper prices have skyrocketed recently due to the need for copper in electronic devices such as cell phones and computers. Unscrupulous crooks are ripping out drywall and cutting the pipes and wires out of the walls. Often, no one is aware until someone enters the building and sees the damage.
So how do we stop these crooks? That is where we ask you, the readers of CityWatch, to be our eyes and ears. If you see suspicious behavior, call 911 and get deputies moving out that way. If you of know someone with a considerable amount of scrap metal and they didn’t have it yesterday, that might be a clue to criminal behavior. Jot down the license plate if you don’t know who the person is. Try to get a description of person. You can then call your favorite police department at 805-646-1414. We’ll come and get the information from you. Even in the heat. If you don’t want to do that, you can always send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll pass it on to the guys in our detective bay.
Until next time Ojai, take care of one another.
Ojai Valley Station
402 S. Ventura St.
Ojai, Ca 93023
Senior Deputy Ed Beauvais is a 16-year member of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked a variety of assignments, from gangs in El Rio and Saticoy, to Elementary and Middle School Resource Officer in the city of Camarillo. He is now assigned as the Beat Coordinator for the city of Ojai. He can be reached at email@example.com.