Ventura County – When it comes to the appreciation of the fine arts, it’s often said that “there is no accounting for people’s tastes”. Never does that appear to have been more true than in the case of Brian Nissen, 29, and Laura Guziak, 31, both residents of Thousand Oaks.
Nissen and Guziak were both arrested on the morning of September 24th on a flurry of criminal charges emanating from their obvious obsessive-compulsive need to steal decorative landscaping ornaments and lighting systems…and support an insidious drug habit. Over the prior several months, the couple is suspected of conducting more than 100 thefts of (one can only imagine) plaster critters, elves, and religious iconography throughout the Thousand Oaks area.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Jason Robarts, “the crimes took place in the middle of the night and the suspects were reselling the property at area swap meets.” With Thousand Oaks Police detectives receiving multiple reports of stolen lawn statues, in August they issued a press release seeking any information from the public regarding these crimes, and the anonymous tips began to flow.
So specific was some of the information received by detectives that a search warrant of Nissen’s residence was obtained and served on September 24th, yielding a cache of more than 70 decorative lawn ornaments, various Malibu lighting accessories, an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine and “a large amount of cash”…leading, perhaps to the conclusion that Nissen and Guziak’s “taste in art” wasn’t so far off the commercial mark.
Both Nissen and Guziak were arrested pursuant to the search, transported to Ventura County Jail, and booked on charges of grand theft, conspiracy, possession of stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled substance.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking, Ventura County Sheriff’s Dept.
VCSTAR: Thousand Oaks couple accused of lawn ornament thefts