Ventura County – The Ojai Valley’s Oak Grove School is a bastion of private education nestled in the small, rural community of Meiner’s Oaks. It’s the kind of school in the kind of town where one might be reminded of Mayberry RFD, and certainly not a place one would expect to be the target of felonious crime.
Sadly, however, Mayberry is apparently a fictional ideal, for on the morning of May 5th, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department deputies were dispatched out of the Ojai station on a 911 Emergency call reporting a burglary in progress. According to VCSD spokesman Sgt. R. Harwood, an Oak Grove teacher was opening his classroom for the day at 7:45 a.m. and found himself confronting James Hanna, a 20-year old resident of Ojai in the process of burglarizing the premises.
Without hesitation, Hanna “jumped out the same window he used to break into the classroom” and fled on foot. Responding deputies were promptly given a complete description of Hanna by the teacher, and an area search immediately ensued. A short time later, the Ojai station dispatch received a report of a suspicious individual described as “pretending to be asleep” in a hillside park area. The description of this putatively sleepy individual matched that of Hanna, whereupon deputies responded and began hiking up the hill to find Hanna feigning repose in the shade of a tree.
Upon contact by deputies, Hanna, “suspected of being under the influence of a controlled substance,” became agitated and physically resisted any efforts to take him into custody. Once subdued, a search of Hanna’s backpack revealed that he was in possession of marijuana, concentrated cannabis, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs, all packaged for sale.
Hanna was transported to Ventura County Jail where he was booked on charges of burglary, being under the influence of a controlled substance, resisting arrest, possession of concentrated cannabis, transportation of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana for sale, and for a pair of outstanding felony warrants.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking