March 26, 2013
Misty Volaski, email@example.com
A string of burglaries that took place in Ventura Friday may be connected to another in the 100 block of Willey Street in Oak View, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.
Starting at Ralph’s (grocery store on Telephone Road) at about 7:30 a.m. last Friday, the suspects allegedly stole several toiletry items before fleeing after being confronted by store employees, said Detective Mike Harris of the Ojai Police Department. They then “Went around to at least four different (Ventura) residences. Following that they then came up to the Ojai area,” Harris added.
A watchful resident on Willey Street called police after seeing “suspicious” people driving around the neighborhood in a blue vehicle. “The (victim) had just left her house,” said Harris. “They (the suspects) may have seen her leave, and thought, ‘Oh, let’s try that (house).’”
Because of the neighbor’s call to police, Ojai Capt. Dave Kenney said Ojai police arrested four suspects. “It’s like the old adage, ‘If you see something, say something,’” said Harris. “Call us, we’ll be happy to go check it out.”
Harris said police were able to return 90 percent of the stolen items to the victim.
It is unknown whether the Willey Street and Ventura incidents have any connection to a Foothill Road home burglary, which police say took place between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. March 14. There are no suspects so far in that burglary, although police hope to gather forensic information from evidence left at the scene.
Ojai police said there has been “an upswing in daytime break-ins,” adding that many criminals are simply looking for homes and structures that present the easiest opportunities. Unlocked doors and windows during the daytime — when most people are away at work — makes for an easy target, said Harris. “They’ll knock on the front door, ring the bell and if nobody’s home, they’ll go around back and go in from there.” Some more sophisticated crooks have cut the power to the victim’s home in an effort to avoid a possible alarm system, although that is not as common, Harris said.
He urged residents to take simple measures to avoid being victimized. “It’s certainly preventable — the ones we’ve been having lately were (due to) unlocked windows and doors — so it’s preventable in that regard,” said Harris. “Any means you can to do slow down the (would-be criminals), to make it more difficult, to make them get on their way, is good.” He added that crooks will often avoid residences where dogs are present and barking.
When calling police to report suspicious circumstances, more information is better, according to Ojai police. “Giving a description of a car is helpful … but giving us the license plate — license plates are golden to us. They give us something solid to go off of,” said Harris.
Locals are urged to call 911 if they see any person or circumstances that seem suspicious. “If it doesn’t seem right, call,” Harris said.