Photo: Rafaella Benoit
July 12, 2020 – Ventura County, Ca.
If there is a book at the local library entitled “How Not to Act When the Cops Show Up,” 29-
year-old Winnetka area resident Art Housey and 24-year-old Fontana resident Rafaella Benoit
would have done well to have checked it out and studied its contents prior to July 10th.
It was on the afternoon of July 10 when Housey and Benoit were observed by a witness hanging out in a vehicle in front of a Camarillo Rite Aid Drug Store. That witness placed a phone call to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department anonymous “tip line” and made what VCSD spokesman Det. Mitchell Peterson indicated as “a suspicious subject report.”
When patrol deputies responded to the scene, the “suspicious” vehicle promptly drove off at a high rate of speed. VCSD units pursued the fleeing vehicle and made a traffic stop. Contact was made with Housey who was quickly determined to be on probation with a felony warrant in his name.
Following Benoit’s removal from the vehicle, a brief search of the vehicle lead to the
discovery of a quantity of methamphetamine and “an unregistered 9mm semi-automatic
handgun and ammunition.”
Along with the drugs and firearm, “numerous items of stolen mail addressed to more than 50
people from 22 different jurisdictions throughout Californiai” were found. In the mail were
multiple credit cards and stolen property later “determined to originate from a residential
burglary” in nearby Thousand Oaks.
Housey and Benoit were taken into custody, transported to Ventura County Jail, and booked on
charges of conspiracy, burglary, mail theft, possession of identifying information of more than
10 people, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and
possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Both Benoit and Housey remain
in custody on no-bail holds.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking