Photo: Dustin Smead
Ventura County – Just before midnight on August 10th, Ventura County Sheriff’s Department patrol deputies attached to the Ojai Police Department were alerted to a convenience store robbery on Highway 33 in the nearby community of Meiner’s Oaks.
According to VCSD spokesman Capt. Eric Buschow, deputies responding to the scene learned that “an intoxicated man” had attempted to buy gas, beer, and cigarettes, but when his credit card was not approved, he “helped himself to a case of beer” and proceeded to leave the store. His exit path was impeded at the store’s entrance, however, by a “good Samaritan,” who was promptly punched in the face for his efforts.
At that point, the suspect—identified as 38-year-old Meiner’s Oaks resident Dustin Smead—fled the premises and drove to the street where he lived and “went into a neighbor’s house instead of his own.” Once inside the home, Smead threatened to kill his neighbor, smashing windows and damaging property inside the house.
Deputies arrived at the neighbor’s house and confronted Smead who was now wielding a pickaxe as a weapon. When ordered to drop the pickaxe, Smead “complied immediately,” whereupon he was promptly taken into custody. Further investigation revealed that while inside the neighbor’s house and prior to the arrival of the cops, Smead had uploaded social media posts indicating that he had “just killed three people and the cops were coming to get him.”
Those posts were determined to be false, and Smead was transported to Ventura County Jail, where he was booked on charges of first-degree robbery, making criminal threats, first-degree residential burglary, and vandalism, with his bail set at $125,000.
Photo: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking