Photo: Erasmo Hurtado
VENTURA COUNTY — With the Thomas Fire raging throughout northern Ventura County, all public schools remain closed for the next few weeks. As anyone who has ever returned to a school campus during a vacation period knows, a shuttered school is a quiet, uninhabited environment; the perfect target for a burglar with the ability to pick locks.
That may well have been the reason that the Fillmore Middle School was visited in the pre-dawn hours of December 11th by 28-year-old Fillmore resident Erasmo Hurtado. Ordinarily, such an intrusion may well have gone unnoticed, but Hurtado had the misfortune to be observed by a member of the custodial staff as he was leaving campus.
A quick 911 Emergency Call brought a Fillmore Police Department patrol unit to the scene. According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Det. Danielle Delpit, the ensuing investigation revealed that “a classroom had been broken into and property had been taken.” Further investigation by area deputies led to the discovery of “a bag of stolen property at a nearby labor camp,” where they were also given a description of Hurtado as the individual who had brought the property to the area.
Hurtado was located in downtown Fillmore a short while later, where he appeared to be “under the influence of a controlled substance” and was in possession of lock picking tools. With that evidence in hand, deputies placed Hurtado under arrest and transported him to Ventura County Jail, where he was booked on charges of felony burglary, possession of burglar’s tools, and being under the influence of a controlled substance, with his bail set at $40,000.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking