VENTURA COUNTY (CrimeVoice) – With the passions of young romance forever immortalized by the words of Shakespeare in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with “The course of true love never did run smooth,” it’s clear that Ethan Gross and Melanie Hoffman, both residents of Camarillo, had a romance that exceeded the bounds of law-abiding society.
Gross had been prominently active in Ventura County as evidenced by a contemporary arrest record that included a February 27th arrest by Camarillo detectives on charges of possession of stolen property as well as identity theft and drug offenses, and was released on March 3rd after posting bail.
It comes as no surprise then that when, on March 9th, a Camarillo home owner informed the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department of a suspected burglary at his residence, thoughts ran to Hoffman and Gross, known to be romantically involved with one another. According to VCSD spokesman Sgt. Eric Tennessen, on that date the reporting resident had been away from his home and upon returning “found a door unlocked and found property in the home belonging to Ms. Hoffman.” Shortly thereafter, he realized a number of items of personal property were missing.
Possibly working on the theory that “love is blind”, VCSD patrol deputies went to Gross’s residence to conduct an authorized probation search. While Gross was not there at the time, the personal property reportedly stolen earlier that day was.
Three days later, on March 12th, Camarillo’s Special Enforcement Detail returned to the Gross residence under color of conducting another probation search. Upon their arrival, however, Gross—who clearly is not a fan of casual “drop ins”—took off on foot in a blatant attempt to avoid contact with law enforcement. His flight was shorter than anything that ever took place at Kitty Hawk, and once he was in custody, the probation search revealed an additional cache of stolen property in his residence. Ms. Hoffman was on the premises in possession of a controlled substance, and when further on-site investigation revealed that both Gross and Hoffman had been engaged in using stolen property and documents to perpetrate online financial fraud, they were both arrested and transported to Ventura County Jail where they were booked on multiple burglary and identify theft charges. Gross had his bail set at $130,000 while his paramour’s bail was set at $55,000.
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