Proving once again that an alert public is the best defense against random crime throughout local communities, the October 28th arrest of 37-year-old Michael Barnett, a known Ventura area transient, would not have been possible without the unsolicited and determined help of a private citizen.
It was in the middle of the afternoon when, according to the Ventura Police Department Watch Commander’s media report, an unnamed citizen “observed a male subject rummaging through a vehicle” parked on a public street, and then personally confronted the subject who immediately bolted off, hopped into a waiting van and fled the area.
Undaunted, this brave citizen followed the van in his own car “while relaying information to the Ventura Police Command Center.” Reportedly following the suspect van a considerable distance through the streets of Ventura and into a shopping center parking lot where a female suspect alighted from the van and walked off, the pursuing citizen remained in visual contact with the van as it entered the eastbound 126 Freeway at a high rate of speed. It was at that point that VPD black-and-white patrol units caught up with the van and brought it to a halt, making contact with Barnett who was immediately taken into custody.
The ensuing investigation revealed that Barnett had indeed entered an unlocked vehicle “possibly looking for items to steal,” qualifying him for a pair of handcuffs and a free ride to Ventura County Jail where he was booked on a charge of vehicle tampering.
Police continue to seek the whereabouts and identity of the female with Barnett at the time of the crime and appeal to members of the public who may have relevant information to contact the VPD Watch Commander at (805) 339-4416.