Burglary at Nike store sparks police chase
Two Fresno-area men are facing grand larceny charges after authorities chased and arrested them last week following a coordinated robbery at the Nike store on Westlake Drive, police said.
Sometime after 4:30 p.m. on July 26, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a phone call from the store reporting that a group of four men had entered the business and made off with handfuls of merchandise, said Captain Eric Buschow.
“They had been there and done that before,” he said. “There are groups traveling around the state all the time doing what we would consider retail organized theft.”
After a description of the men and their vehicle hit the airwaves, a deputy tried to stop the white four-door Buick before it reached the 101 freeway, but the driver didn’t stop. is not stopped, Buschow said.
Pursuing deputies lost sight of the Buick near the Pleasant Valley/Santa Rosa Road exit in Camarillo, but the car was again spotted near Santa Rosa and Moorpark roads near the Norwegian Grade base shortly thereafter. At that point, Buschow said, the driver took Highway 23 at Moorpark and headed south toward Thousand Oaks.
The occupants of the Buick eventually abandoned the car near Gelson Market near Townsgate Road and Village Glen in Westlake, police said.
Deputies were able to catch up with them nearby, including one in the CVS pharmacy, said a community member who was in the store.
Buschow identified the suspects as Royce Turner, 27, and Jonathan Bookman, 31. Authorities said the other two men seen taking items from the store may have escaped in a second vehicle.
Buschow said organized retail theft is common in the county as well as the rest of the state, though most of the group members arrested by the sheriff’s department are from out of town.
Often groups will have a niche they specialize in stealing, he said.
“You’ll see groups that mostly take diapers and formula, and people think, ‘Oh, they’re taking it because they need it for their babies,'” he said. “No no No. They take a large amount of it and like other products they turn around and sell it at a reduced price.
He said other niches include electronics and household products like detergents and razor blade cartridges.
Store policies and changes to laws over the past 10 years have emboldened criminals, Buschow said.
First, many stores have a hands-off policy because companies don’t want their employees to be harmed during an encounter.
“As long as they’re under $950, it’s a misdemeanor, and shoplifting has become a very low-level crime,” Buschow said. “Also, the consequences don’t increase with each event like before, and what we see as a result is that these people don’t care.”
While bail for both men was initially set at $100,000, it was reduced to $20,000 for Turner and $30,000 for Booker following a bond hearing on July 29, records show. judicial. In addition to the criminal theft charge, Booker faces an additional charge of criminal escape/willful indifference.
On Monday, the two men were still in custody.