Press Release

 

Thousand Oaks Deputies Arrest Suspects for Numerous Thefts from Vehicles
8/10/2014 10:15:00 PM

 

Nature of Incident:

Criminal conspiracy / thefts from vehicles

Report Number:

14-18184

Location:

Multiple residential communities within the City of Thousand Oaks

Date & Time:

August 10, 2014

Unit Responsible:

Thousand Oaks Police Department / Thousand Oaks Investigations

(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent

City of Residence

Age

 

(S) Caulen Boyd

(S) Male Juvenile

(S) Male Juvenile

(S) Male Juvenile

(S) Male Juvenile

Thousand Oaks

Thousand Oaks

Thousand Oaks

Thousand Oaks

Thousand Oaks

18

17

17

17

17

 

 

Narrative:

 

On August 10, 2014, at approximately 5:30 a.m. sheriff's dispatch received a call from an observant citizen who reported seeing three juveniles going through vehicles in the mid-block of Los Padres Drive in Thousand Oaks.  This citizen also reported seeing a vehicle associated with the subjects quickly driving away from the area.  Uniformed Thousand Oaks patrol deputies quickly responded to the area and began a search for these suspicious subjects.  Sheriff's deputies located Caulen Boyd and a male juvenile in the same general area where the witness had reported seeing them going through vehicles.  After a preliminary investigation, deputies determined Boyd and the juvenile were entering unlocked cars in the area and stealing personal property.  Boyd and the male juvenile were subsequently arrested.  Additional investigative methods were utilized, which ultimately helped to identify three additional male juveniles involved in the vehicle thefts.  The three additional male juvenile suspects were located and arrested. 

Follow-up investigation has revealed that the suspect's crimes were not solely concentrated in the Los Padres Dr. area.  It was discovered that the suspects committed thefts encompassing a vast area; stretching from the south end to the north end of Thousand Oaks.

Deputies were able to identify a vehicle as being involved in the thefts and a Thousand Oaks residence where the stolen items were stashed.  The suspects entered as many as 40, potentially more, unlocked vehicles in residential communities and stole personal property.    At this time, the sheriff's office has not identified all of the victims.  Nearly 100 stolen items were recovered during this investigation.

Citizens from this residential neighborhood who discover that they are the victims of theft are strongly encouraged to contact the Thousand Oaks Police Department.  Upon doing so, Thousand Oaks Detectives will make arrangements to have the stolen items identified and returned to their respective owners. 

In recent months, the Thousand Oaks Police Department has noticed a significant increase in thefts from vehicles.  In some instances, force was used to gain access into the vehicles where personal property was stolen.  In most cases, however, the owners simply neglected to lock their vehicles and they left personal property inside, which was subsequently stolen. 

In conducting multiple investigations into these vehicle thefts, patrol officers and sheriff's detectives have noticed that a high number of these crimes are being committed by juveniles and young adults.  The locations in our city where these vehicles are being targeted are random.  There is simply no profile to create geographically.  Teenagers and young adults in all areas of Thousand Oaks are entering unlocked vehicles and steeling property.  Some of the most common items stolen include wallets, credit cards, cell phones, cell phone chargers, lap tops, flashlights, sunglasses and U.S. currency, including loose change-coins left behind in an ash tray or other compartment.  In many instances, credit cards which are stolen are often used by the suspects to purchase items from local businesses before the victim becomes aware of the theft.  

The thefts are all too often a huge burden to the victims; many of whom have to spend hours of their time notifying their financial institutions, credit bureaus and other entities of the crimes so as to prevent future financial loss or identity theft.   

The Thousand Oaks Police Department has continually reminded vehicle owners to lock their vehicles securely to reduce the likelihood of theft.  We would also like to remind citizens to be alert and diligent as it relates to observing vehicles or persons who appear suspicious in nature.  Obviously the hour of day should likely play a factor when considering whether or not someone is or is not suspicious.  Certainly a 15 year old male wearing a backpack walking down a residential street at 3:00 pm may not, in and of itself, be suspicious.  Now, take that same person and change the time to 3:00 am, that is suspicious and that person needs to be contacted by law enforcement.

Thousand Oaks patrol deputies and detectives have arrested multiple juveniles and young adults who have been in possession of stolen property and have admitted to committing these thefts from vehicles.  Some of these individuals have no other criminal background and, for the most part, are productive teenagers that come from good families and do well in school.  Many of these individuals have openly told deputies and investigators that there is a new trend or fad, if you will, that the youth in our community call 'Car Hopping' or 'Car Fishing.'  According to these teenagers and young adults, car hopping is when a group of subjects will go to a random residential community, be it on foot or in a vehicle, and walk up and down the street checking to see if car doors are unlocked.  If the cars are in fact unlocked, these perpetrators will enter the vehicle and take whatever property of value is inside.  Many times the suspects carry a backpack on their person to quickly store the stolen property.  Some suspects or groups are more sophisticated than others and have a 'look out' nearby, who will alert them upon the discovery of law enforcement or curious homeowners.  Statistics have shown these crimes most likely occur late at night and in the early morning hours when most homeowners are asleep.  

According to many of the suspects who have cooperated with law enforcement, they seem to take the stance that 'everyone is doing it.'  The Ventura County Sheriff's Office wants to point out that this so-called car hopping is not a fad, it is a crime.  What many of these teenagers and young adults simply do not comprehend is that entering another person's vehicle without permission and stealing the property of another in many cases is a burglary ' a felony in California.  It is also significant to point out that when two or more persons conspire, to commit any crime, it is a felony under California Penal Code section 182.  So, these juveniles and young adults who head out in the hours of darkness with their friends to go 'Car Hopping' end up committing felony crimes and their ignorance to the laws will not stand up in court as a legal excuse.        

We have found that in many cases wherein juveniles were arrested for these vehicle thefts their parents were completely taken by surprise.  Often times the parents or guardians simply thought that their child was 'spending the night at a friend's house.'  The Thousand Oaks Police Department would like to remind parents and guardians alike how important it is to know where there sons and daughters are, most specifically, as it pertains to juveniles during the hours of curfew; which are 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.  We as a law enforcement agency certainly understand that parents often try to establish a certain element of respect and trust with their children in the hopes that their sons and daughters will make good decisions in life.  Often the teens in our community can become easily influenced by peer pressure, which at times may result in criminal acts being perpetrated, such is the case with this car hopping phenomenon.  Parents and guardians are the first line of defense in teaching and mentoring the youth in our community and educating them about the harm that comes from committing crime. 

 

 

Prepared by:

Sergeant D. Worthy / East County Police Services / Thousand Oaks Police Department

 

Media Release Date:

August 10, 2014

 

Follow-Up Contact:

Detective Chris Jones / (805) 371-8396

 

Approved by:

Captain Rob Davidson