Simi Valley police investigate shooting, more news

Here is a roundup of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County agencies:

Simi police investigate shooting

Detectives from the Simi Valley Police Department were investigating a shooting Wednesday night.

The incident was reported shortly after 5 p.m. in the 1500 block of Patricia Avenue, said Sgt. Josh McAlister.

A male victim appears to have been shot in the leg, he said. The injury was not life threatening. The shots may have been the result of an argument.

Detectives remained at the scene at 7:30 p.m., McAlister said.

This article will be updated.

Former high school employee changes plea in misconduct case

Westlake High School

Westlake High School

A former employee of Westlake High School pleaded guilty last week to sexual misconduct charges in a case involving a student at the school.

Thomas Ballas, 33, of Thousand Oaks, pleaded guilty June 14 to two counts of sending harmful material to a minor, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. He also admitted to several special allegations, according to court records.

Ballas previously pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied the special allegations after his arrest in December.

Ballas had worked as a technical specialist for the school’s theater department. He was arrested on December 2 after apparently sending “numerous illicit images” via social media to an underage student at the school. He was fired by the Conejo Valley Unified School District after his arrest.

Ballas, who remains out of bail, is scheduled to be sentenced the morning of July 21 in Room 23 of Ventura County Superior Court.

Suspected thieves targeted landscape workers

Moorpark authorities on Tuesday arrested two Los Angeles men suspected of committing at least eight recent thefts of landscaping equipment.

For about two weeks, investigators from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office in Moorpark investigated a series of robberies involving two suspects in a darkened Chevrolet Tahoe, officials said in a news release. The sheriff’s office is contracted to provide policing services in the city.

The men, aged 26 and 28, reportedly returned to Moorpark on several occasions to attack landscape workers. They would wait for workers to move to the backyard of a house to steal equipment from workers’ parked vehicles. At least eight victims are linked to the two suspects, authorities said.

On Tuesday, one of the first victims recognized the suspects’ Chevy Tahoe near Championship and Snead drives and reported it to dispatchers. A traffic sergeant saw the Tahoe heading south on Walnut Canyon Road and pulled it over without incident.

Evidence of thefts was reportedly found inside the Tahoe. The men were arrested on suspicion of grand larceny, conspiracy, possession of burglary tools and released on parole. They were held in a county jail on bail set at $250,000, officials said.

3 arrested in series of restaurant robberies

Ventura County Sheriff’s officials have arrested three Los Angeles residents, including a 16-year-old, on suspicion of involvement in a series of commercial burglaries in Eastern County.

Suspected thieves targeted safes and cash in restaurants from January to March.

Some robberies in Thousand Oaks prompted the Sheriff’s Career Criminals Unit to launch an investigation. The juvenile suspect was believed to have been involved in 18 robberies in the area, including Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Moorpark, Agoura Hills and Calabasas, officials said.

A 21-year-old man from Los Angeles is believed to have joined the youngster in seven of the incidents.

The sheriff’s unit worked with investigators from the agency’s Moorpark station as well as the Simi Valley and Los Angeles police departments. During the investigation, they were contacted by El Segundo and Arizona police, who were part of a task force investigating commercial burglaries and two gun store burglaries in Arizona, where “numerous” firearms were stolen. The two suspects are said to have taken part in some of the incidents, authorities said. Local investigators obtained arrest warrants for both.

The minor was arrested in Los Angeles County on June 8 on suspicion of 18 counts of commercial burglary and was taken to the Ventura County Juvenile Justice Center.

On June 15, local authorities worked with the LAPD SWAT team to serve the search warrant at the 21-year-old’s Los Angeles residence. Evidence was reportedly found there and the man was arrested on suspicion of seven counts of commercial burglary. He was also charged with robbery and organized retail theft following a 2022 incident in Thousand Oaks.

During the search, detectives found a third suspect, a 22-year-old man, living at the residence. He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy in one of the Thousand Oaks burglaries.

Articles can be updated.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Roundup: Simi Valley Police Investigate Shooting, More News

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