Jan. 26—Four Central Coast residents were arrested Saturday on suspicion of identity theft and drug charges after deputies discovered items connecting them to victims from San Luis Obispo to Ventura counties, following a traffic stop in Thousand Oaks.
Ventura County sheriff's patrol units in Thousand Oaks stopped a vehicle with an expired registration near Ventu Park Road and Highway 101 shortly after 9:30 a.m., according to Deputy Jennifer Bowie.
Deputies observed items inside the vehicle that allegedly indicated drug use by the four occupants, including three Paso Robles residents, identified as Joy Thompson, 26, Ricki Thompson, 22, and Sebastian Yciano, 21; and 27-year-old Alejandro Gutierrez, of Templeton.
Upon further investigation, deputies located several items of personal identifying information belonging to victims ranging from Paso Robles to Camarillo, including in Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria, and which the four suspects had intended to use to commit identity theft, according to Bowie.
All four were booked into Ventura County Jail. Joy Thompson and Yciano were each arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, illegally possessing personal identifying information and conspiracy. Their bail amounts were listed at $60,000, each.
Ricki Thompson and Gutierrez were each arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, illegally possessing drug paraphernalia, illegally possessing personal identifying information and conspiracy.
Additionally, Thompson received a charge of illegally possessing a controlled substance. Bail amounts for both Thompson and Gutierrez were listed at $50,000 each.
Law enforcement has seen an increase in the amount of identity theft crimes being committed and sheriff's officials are reminding residents to take extra steps to avoid becoming victims, such as collecting mail regularly, not leaving valuables in cars and keeping doors locked, according to Bowie.