Theft warning sign, cigarette burglars wanted, more news

Here is a roundup of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County agencies:

Theft of political signs leads to arrest

THOUSAND OAKS — Ventura County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a woman this week for allegedly stealing political campaign signs from private property in Newbury Park.

The petty theft arrest prompted the agency to issue a statement Friday reminding the public that it is illegal to take political signs off someone else’s property. The suspects will be prosecuted, sheriff officials have warned.

The alleged theft was recorded on CCTV Monday at a site near Michael Drive and Borchard Road. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office, which is contracted to provide policing services in Thousand Oaks, arrested the suspect on Wednesday.

The woman initially told authorities that she believed the signs had been placed illegally and that she was in a position to remove them. She later admitted that she only took signs that opposed her political views and also admitted that she took more signs from a second location, according to the sheriff’s account.

In Thousand Oaks, residents can report illegally placed or inappropriate signs to the city at

Burglars hit a smoking room

SIMI VALLEY – Simi Valley Police are asking for the public’s help in locating suspects who got away with thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes from a smokehouse owner.

The theft was reported shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday behind the Hookah Valley Smokehouse at 1230 Madera Road, according to the Simi Valley Police Department.

Several thousand dollars worth of cigarettes were stolen from the store owner’s vehicle parked in the back of the store, officials said.

The suspects were described as only four individuals wearing hoodies, the department said. The vehicle was a gray van with paper plates.

Officers saw the suspects’ van heading east on Route 118, but were unable to contact the occupants. The van was last seen exiting 118 at Tampa Avenue.

As of Friday, no arrests had been made, officials said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Simi Valley Police at 805-583-6950.

Wanted witnesses in Jack in the Box stabbing

VENTURA — A stabbing Friday morning in the parking lot of a Ventura Jack in the Box prompted police to search for witnesses.

The incident was reported around 2:45 a.m. outside the fast food restaurant at 2115 S. Victoria Ave., near the junction with the 101 Freeway, according to the Ventura Police Department.

Officers arrived less than a minute after the call and found a 40-year-old man with multiple stab wounds. He was taken to hospital with injuries that are not considered life threatening.

Investigators learned that the victim and a male suspect had been involved in an argument. The confrontation ended when the suspect stabbed the victim with a knife near the dumpster enclosure in the parking lot behind the restaurant.

The victim and suspect did not know each other, police officials said. The suspect was wearing a mask. No other details about the suspect were immediately available.

Anyone who has seen the incident or has information is asked to call Detective Sergeant Bill Dolan at 805-339-4444.

Murder suspect’s case suspended

VENTURA COUNTY — A Camarillo man suspected of murdering his mother and dumping her remains in a dumpster this summer has been found mentally incapable to stand trial.

David Hoetzlein, 25, of Camarillo, appeared in Ventura County Superior Court Thursday when Judge David Hirsch ruled he was unfit to stand trial in light of the results of an assessment of the mental capacity, according to court records.

Hoetzlein was arrested on June 4, the day after the dismembered remains of his mother, Tomoko Hoetzlein, 62, of Camarillo, were found in a dumpster at the apartment complex where they lived.

With the ruling, Hoetzlein will remain in custody in the county jail until he is placed in a state mental hospital, where he will receive treatment until he is deemed fit to stand trial. Court proceedings in the murder case will remain suspended until then.

Police car hit during arrest

PORT HUENEME — A marked patrol car was reportedly struck twice as a suspect tried to flee a traffic stop in Port Hueneme this week, authorities said.

The incident unfolded in the 700 block of Ventura Road around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday when Port Hueneme Police Department officers spotted a stolen 2007 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck.

When a police car identified for two people entered the parking lot of a medical building to carry out a police stop, the front passenger fled the vehicle on foot. A uniformed officer gave chase and quickly took the passenger, a 39-year-old Oxnard man, into custody.

While the foot chase was in progress, the driver of the stolen Chevy truck reportedly attempted to flee from the parking lot, hitting two parked vehicles as he maneuvered and colliding with the patrol car.

After turning around, the suspect allegedly ran over the officer and the patrol car, hitting it again, the department reported. The uniformed officer had to take evasive action to avoid being hit.

The suspect escaped from the parking lot and headed south into the northbound lanes of Ventura Road. Undercover officers saw the Chevy and followed it, coordinating with other officers.

The driver, later identified as a 22-year-old Oxnard man, abandoned the truck near a park in southeast Oxnard and fled on foot. He was eventually taken into custody with the help of Oxnard Police.

The officer near the rammed patrol unit did not require medical attention. A seven-month-pregnant woman was in one of the parked vehicles hit by the Chevy. She was treated and released on the spot.

The driver was arrested and later charged by prosecutors with multiple crimes. He has since pleaded not guilty to all charges in Ventura County Superior Court and remained in the county jail on Friday with bond set at $205,000, according to jail records.

The passenger remained in jail Friday on an outstanding arrest warrant.

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