Photo: Stock Image
Written By: Robert L. McCullough
November 11, 2022 – Ventura County, Ca. With the Holiday Season rapidly approaching, many law enforcement agencies are stepping up their residential and commercial patrols in the expectation of an increase in the tempo of home invasions, burglaries, and assorted property crimes.
Not the least of those efforts are those of the Thousand Oaks Special Enforcement Unit and Thousand Oaks Police Department Patrol Services. Those industrious endeavors have apparently begun to pay off with the November 9th arrest of three individuals whom detectives have determined to be part of a South American Theft Group.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Greg Gibson, those arrested are “transnational criminals who entered the United States through the Visa Waiver Program” and are all Chilean nationals. The arrests of 25-year-old Luis Esteban Castillo Vivar, 30-year-old Michel Estefano Contreras Belmar, and a 14-year-old male juvenile too place at approximately 8:00 p.m., November 9 th pursuant to “a call for service regarding a residential burglary in progress” in the City of Thousand Oaks.
Responding patrol units arrived on the scene and immediately established a secure perimeter around the reporting residence “as the burglary was being committed.” When deputies attempted to make contact with the suspects, all three “fled on foot” but were promptly captured and taken into custody. Evidence gathered at the scene indicated that the three were actively involved in residential burglaries throughout the cities of Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Hidden Hills, and “other communities across the United States.”
Vivar and Belmar were transported to Ventura County Jail, where they were booked on charges of conspiracy, residential burglary, possession of fraudulent government documents, and possession of burglary tools, with their bail set at $150,000 each. The juvenile was transported to the Ventura County Juvenile Justice Center.