Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean announced yesterday the arrests of three suspects following an ongoing investigation by detectives in multiple Southern California jurisdictions, “including the cities of Ojai, Camarillo, Ventura, Carpinteria, Malibu, Bakersfield, Ridgecrest, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, and Port Hueneme.”
It all began on February 11th in the City of Ojai, when a vehicle burglary report led police to a gas station surveillance video purportedly featuring the suspects using stolen credit cards to fill the tank of their white U-Haul van. But because no faces were distinguishable on the video, no identification of the suspects was possible at that time.
But just 48 hours later, a similar series of auto burglaries were reported in the same area, with the suspects returning to the same gas station where they were once again recorded in the act on surveillance video.
This time, however, the male and female captured on the video failed to obscure their faces. Once Ojai detectives had a good look at their suspects, a positive identification was made of Jennifer Willard, a 36-year-old Ventura resident with two outstanding warrants to her name.
Her companion, identified as David Lee Williams, 32, was known to law enforcement as “currently on probation,” according to Dean.
Not only were the two suspects identified, but the license plate on their van was recorded on the same video, allowing a “be on the lookout” alert to be posted to all patrol units throughout the county.
Just nine days later, Willard was contacted walking along a Ventura street.
She was found to be in possession of credit cards stolen from a vehicle in Malibu that same day and taken into custody and transported to Ventura County Jail for booking on charges of conspiracy, vehicle burglary, commercial burglary, identity theft, possession of stolen property, possession of a controlled substance, and being under the influence of a controlled substance…as well as for her two outstanding warrants. Her bail at the time was set at $70,000.
Two days following Willard’s arrest, the white van was spotted tooling down a Ventura street and quickly became the subject of a Ventura Police Department patrol unit traffic stop.
The driver was identified as Williams; accompanying him was Korey Cook, a 29-year-old Oxnard resident.
They were promptly found to be “in possession of stolen property from a vehicle burglary that occurred in Camarillo the same morning,” and were both arrested on the scene and transported to Ventura County Jail where they were booked on charges of conspiracy, vehicle burglary, commercial burglary, identity theft, possession of burglary tools, and for multiple outstanding warrants. Williams’ bail was set at $80,000; Cook’s bail was set at $50,000.