DA is looking for victims in sex crimes case, more local info
Here is a summary of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County agencies:
DA searches for potential victims, witnesses in cases of sexual crimes
VENTURA – Prosecutors are seeking public assistance regarding possible additional witnesses or victims of a man now charged with multiple sexual crimes, including an alleged assault on a Ventura cycle path in September.
Ventura County Prosecutor’s Office Erik Nasarenko released a statement on Wednesday saying that bicycle lane assault suspect Martin Valdez Arias, 28, has been charged with a second felony.
On August 30, Arias allegedly rode a silver and black bicycle near Tanager Street and Swift Avenue in Ventura when he passed a woman walking with her grandson and exposed his genitals, prosecutors said. He was charged with the offense of indecent assault.
The August incident came to light as the Ventura Police Department and Ventura County Sheriff’s Office further investigated the September 1 assault on the bike path near Ventura Community Park on the south side of route 126 to Ventura. In this case, Arias allegedly rode on the same bicycle when he attacked a woman walking on the path. He was charged with forcible confinement by violence and sexual violence in the case of the cycle path.
Arias appeared in Ventura County Superior Court on arraignment on Wednesday. The hearing continued until November 17. He has yet to plead in the new cases. He remains in custody at Todd Road Prison and is not currently eligible for bail. A message left with his lawyer on Wednesday afternoon was not returned.
Court records show Arias has previously pleaded guilty to the felony of indecent extortion and the misdemeanor of sexual violence in a case brought by the Oxnard Police Department in 2020.
The prosecutor in the pending cases, Assistant Supervisor DA Brent Nibecker, said he could not discuss previous convictions as it could harm potential jurors.
Arias returned to the Ventura County area on July 24 of this year, according to the prosecutor’s office, and was in the community until his arrest on September 7. Authorities believe he spent time in and around Ventura, Oxnard and Ojai.
Prosecutors released photos of Arias and his bicycle on Wednesday, saying investigators were investigating whether other victims may have been inappropriately touched or exposed to the genitals of a man on a bicycle.
Potential victims as well as any witnesses to such incidents are urged to call DA’s supervising investigator, Christopher Borkovec, at 805-477-1647.
Accident warning near the spurs of a primary school
SANTA PAULA – A single vehicle rollover accident in a Santa Paula school area on Wednesday morning prompted a warning from the police chief.
The crash happened around 7:30 a.m. in the 300 block of North Mill Street near McKevett Elementary School, according to the Santa Paula Police Department.
A 35-year-old woman had apparently driven faster than the school zone limit of 25 mph, causing her vehicle to overturn on her roof when she collided with another car, police officials said. The accident remained under investigation Wednesday afternoon.
The children were arriving at school at that time. None were injured.
The driver was extricated and taken by ambulance to hospital. His injuries did not appear to be life threatening, officials said.
Chief Travis Walker, who wrote the department’s statement and attached a photo of the upside down vehicle, said he hoped the incident would help residents understand why the department was leading enforcement efforts in the areas school: to prevent possible tragedies.
“The big problem,” Walker said, “is that we want to get information out to people to slow down.”
Lawsuit, crash after three home burglaries
THOUSAND OAKS – A chase of three suspected burglars ended in an accident and search efforts in Westlake Village on Wednesday that resulted in the preventive lockdown of an elementary school.
The incident took place shortly before 2 p.m. when a Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a residential burglary call in Thousand Oaks, Sheriff’s Captain Steve Jenkins said. The deputy spotted the suspicious vehicle in the area, initiating the pursuit.
Authorities later learned that occupants of the vehicle were believed to have committed three home burglaries on Wednesday, two of which they allegedly broke into while residents were at home, Jenkins said.
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The chase ended in an accident along Agoura Road, west of Lindero Canyon Road, just above the county line, where the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Lost Hills station took over. relay. The three suspects fled on foot, which sparked a search that included a Ventura County helicopter.
Authorities in Los Angeles have closed White Oak Elementary School south of Agoura Road as a precaution. The confinement was lifted before 4:30 p.m.
Two of the suspects, a man and a woman, were arrested, Jenkins said. A third remained pending Wednesday night but would not be armed, authorities said.
The wing of the evacuated retirement home
THOUSAND OAKS – About 30 residents of a Thousand Oaks nursing home were evacuated from their wing on Wednesday when a faulty HVAC unit sent smoke into the air.
The incident was originally reported as a structural fire at around 12:40 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Health Center, 93 W. Avenida de Los Arboles. The first firefighters on the scene described a possible active fire, which led many units to intervene.
Ventura County Fire Department captain Bob Welsbie said one wing of the facility was evacuated as crews investigated. About 30 residents have been moved to a safe part of the building.
While firefighters ultimately determined that there had been no fire, he said, crews prepared for the real thing by connecting to hydrants and preparing otherwise, Welsbie said. Ultimately, they discovered that the smoke was coming from a burnt out motor of the HVAC unit, referring to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
The department’s No.1 priority is “life safety,” Welsbie said, even when it can be inconvenient to move residents around a facility.
“Obviously, the safest way to fight a fire is to err on the side of caution,” Welsbie said.