Two Chilean men and a Chilean juvenile suspected of being members of a South American theft group have been sentenced for committing organized retail theft in Thousand Oaks, officials said Thursday.
Esperanza Venejas, 25, and Hugo Perez Martinez, 25, were sentenced to 270 days in Ventura County jail and two years of probation, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. They were also ordered to stay away from all Macy’s stores.
The juvenile was deemed a ward of the court and ordered to serve 54 days in the Juvenile Justice Facility.
Last month, Venejas and Martinez were both charged with felony organized retail theft and Martinez received an additional charge for resisting arrest. They pleaded guilty to the charges.
The defendants were arrested on April 15 after security at The Oaks shopping mall in Thousand Oaks was notified of four people trying to break into a parked vehicle.
When security arrived at the scene, the four suspects had separated and fled the area on foot. Ventura County sheriff’s deputies also responded to the scene and took the juvenile and Venejas into custody. Martinez returned to the parked vehicle, ran away again and was eventually apprehended, authorities said.
A bag with about $2,500 worth of stolen Macy’s merchandise was found near the parked vehicle.
Ventura County authorities had previously warned of so-called crime tourism, after three other Chilean men, also believed to be part of a South American theft group, allegedly broke into an Oak Park home in April and were confronted by the homeowner.
The men are facing first-degree residential burglary charges in that incident.