Ventura County – A 14-year-old Thousand Oaks girl, according to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Det. Eric Taylor, was walking through an open “flood control channel” are of Newbury Park at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Friday May 2nd when she was “confronted by an unknown adult male, possibly a transient”.
With no explanation as to why she was in the area during school hours, the 14-year-old described the man as “between the ages of 60 and 70, stocky build, no shirt, grey pants, and red ball cap.”
The Thousand Oaks Police Department immediately began a sweep of the area in search of the suspect, and members of the Bike Team soon located John Ruggles who—aside from the fact that he’s 54 years of age–fit the description and was later positively identified in the field by the girl.
Ruggles was arrested on charges of child annoying, a criminal violation defined as “conduct which is motivated by sexual interest in a child,” and as noted in the California Criminal Code, does not require physical contact of any kind as verbal communication alone may show intent and fall under the statute.
Facing a maximum $5,000 fine and a potential sentence of a year in jail if convicted, Ruggles was booked into Ventura County Jail, where he later admitted to seeing the girl that morning and speaking to her.
As Detectives believe there may have been other similar incidents involving additional young victims, Detective Taylor urges anyone with information about the activities of Ruggles to contact him at (805) 947-8252.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking