Detectives busy with burglary,
by Lenny Roberts
Eight people were either cited or arrested recently by Ojai-based
detectives in separate property and identity theft crimes that
occurred from Thousand Oaks to Santa Barbara County.
Brannon and Maria Marks, of Ventura, were arrested at Lake Casitas
after investigators received a tip of their possible whereabouts.
They are accused of a series of vehicle burglaries where credit
cards and personal checks were taken and then used to purchase
an undisclosed amount of goods, according to Sheriff's Detective
"Working with detectives at the Thousand Oaks Police Department
and the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Carpinteria substation, we were
able to identify the suspects - a husband and wife who lived
on the Avenue in Ventura," Baugher said.
Senior Deputy Rick Jones added that "the interesting thing
is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. I arrested her for
another theft at a swim wear store in Ventura, and there are
probably a lot of other cases."
When they were arrested, Brannon Marks was wearing a work shirt
that he allegedly purchased using a bogus check. The Dickey shirt
and hardware items, totaling $90, came from Meiners Oaks Ace
Hardware, and detectives added that they are investigating at
least one more local forgery that may be attributed to the husband
and wife team.
"All the different (law enforcement) agencies are sitting
until one gets a break in the case, and (because of these arrests),
Santa Barbara is now clearing several cases," Jones explained.
Both suspects were arrested on suspicion of forgery and possession
of stolen property. Brannon Marks was also arrested on an outstanding
warrant for violation of probation stemming from a previous forgery
conviction, and Maria Marks had a warrant for violating the terms
of her drug-related probation.
Saturday, dispatchers put out a call to patrol deputies for vandalism
to a mailbox at Monica Ros School on McNell Road. A neighbor
heard the commotion and said that he watched as some kids were
beating the mailbox with a baseball bat, Baugher said.
"They take off and the witness follows them in his car and
gets the license plate number. Deputies responded and set u a
surveillance perimeter in the city and within an hour, stopped
the suspect vehicle and questioned the occupants."
A positive identification of two male juveniles was made, Baugher
At the same time, patrol deputies received calls that other mailboxes
on Thacher Road were being vandalized, and that juveniles were
breaking windows of vehicles on Lion Street, Romano Drive, Mercer
Avenue and Alviria Drive.
All in all, there were four Nordhoff High School students cited
and released pending a court appearance to parental custody on
felony vandalism charges. The names of the 14-, 15-, 16-, and
17-year-old boys were not released because of their ages.
"Actually, if it weren't for the witness coming out, getting
the license number and calling the police, we wouldn't have been
able to identify any of the suspects," Baugher said.
On Monday, deputies received a call of a burglary in the 100
block of North Olive Street in Oak View. When they arrived, the
victims, a couple in their 80s, told them that their house had
been ransacked, and several items, including a computer and stereo,
had been taken. The deputies also learned that gang-related graffiti
had been spray-painted on the walls, and that a screen on a guest
house on the property was open. The guest house, too, had been
ransacked with property taken.
Baugher said that as deputies canvassed the area, they quickly
came up with suspect information based on a vehicle description.
In an interview with a neighbor, Baugher determined that three
possible suspects had left in a maroon van from the Ventura area.
"(Detective) Joe (Evans) and I followed up on some leads
and started searching for the suspects on the Avenue," Baugher
said. "Then, a maroon van pulls out in front of us."
A personalized license plate frame further indicated that this
was the suspect vehicle, and when the plate was run, confirming
the suspect's identity, the vehicle was stopped by a black-and-white
The driver, 32-year-old Abel Castro, of Ventura, was arrested
on suspicion of driving under the influence, but denied any involvement
in the alleged burglaries. Nonetheless, he was booked into County
Jail on suspicion of burglary.
A second suspect, 16-year-old juvenile, allegedly admitted his
involvement in the crime, but was cited and released to parental
custody pending a court appearance. A third suspect remains at-large.
All of the property allegedly stolen on Olive Street was recovered
and returned to the owners, Baugher said.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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