Santa Paula Pair Accused of Burglarizing Family Whose Home Was Destroyed in Thomas Fire
Two people are in custody after investigators were able to link them to valuables stolen late last year from a Ventura County property that was destroyed during the Thomas Fire, officials said Monday.
Joshua Draper, 39, and Elise Main, 38, who live in the same Santa Paula residence, were both arrested around 12:15 p.m. last Wednesday after a more than five-month investigation into the burglary at 15000 block of Foothill Drive, in an unincorporated area just outside Santa Paula city limits, Ventura County sheriff’s officials said in a news release.
The home on the property was completely razed by the deadly wildfire in December 2017, but a detached garage there remained standing. The family used it for storage after moving to another location nearby, authorities said.
The property owners returned periodically to check on it, and in October 2018 they returned to find the door lock cut and several valuables missing, according to investigators.
After receiving a tip that some of the stolen items were sold at a business in Ventura, detectives identified Draper and Main as suspects.
Officials allegedly uncovered additional evidence that ties the pair to the burglary after obtaining a search warrant for their Santa Paula residence.
Further investigation revealed Draper and Main were renting a storage locker in Santa Paula, and additional goods from the Foothill Drive home were found inside, authorities said.
The locker also contained pricey construction tools and other items detectives believe were stolen, but officials are still trying to connect those belongings with a victim.
Draper was booked on suspicion of burglary, possession of stolen property, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possessing of drug paraphernalia, while Main was being held on suspicion of possession of stolen property and being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Both were in custody on $300,000 bond.