Ventura County – The Oxnard Police Department is a busy place, and no unit in the department faces a greater workload than the recently created Oxnard Auto Theft Task Force, which came together in early 2015 for the explicit purpose of what the OPD Watch Commander’s media report describes as fulfilling the mission to “proactively locate and arrest those responsible for auto thefts in Oxnard.
While the unit’s job description takes the high road, referencing such objectives as education and intervention, the team also does a considerable amount of enforcement and tracking down of car thieves.
Another feather was placed in the figurative cap of the team at noon on December 21st, when task force detectives spotted a 1997 Honda that had been reported stolen out of neighboring Camarillo just a day prior, and that had been implicated in a commercial burglary in Oxnard earlier on the 21st.
Rather than act impetuously upon this sighting, the detectives surveilled the vehicle for a period of time, during which it was parked and the driver Raylene Martinez, 21 and her passenger Omar Tapia, 23 (who was on parole for robbery) as they alighted and climbed aboard a second nearby vehicle—also reported stolen earlier the same day.
At that point, OPD patrol initiated a traffic stop of the second vehicle, whereupon both Tapia and Martinez were taken into custody and arrested.
The ensuing investigation established Martinez’ involvement in the earlier burglary, which earned her charges of petty theft, possession of stolen property, and two counts of auto theft.
For his part, Tapia was booked into Ventura County Jail on two counts of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, and parole violation.