On 01/09/2023, a victim, driving her vehicle out of the extreme weather conditions in the unincorporated area of Ventura County at South Mountain Road / Balcom Canyon Road, became stranded in the mud and water. The victim was forced to evacuate and abandon her vehicle, leaving several personal items behind, including credit cards.
The next day, the victim’s bank alerted her to fraudulent credit card activity in excess of $1,800.00 made using the stolen credit cards at several businesses in the surrounding area. An unknown suspect had entered the abandoned vehicle, stole the victims credit cards, and made several fraudulent purchases at local businesses.
Detectives assigned to the Santa Clara Valley Station obtained video of the suspects making these fraudulent purchases. Detectives were able to visually identify both suspects as Fillmore resident Rodrigo Estrada aka Rodrigo Perez and Santa Paula resident Pedro Chavez.
On 01/25/2023, without incident. On 01/30/2023, Rodrigo Estrada aka Rodrigo Perez was contacted in the city of Santa Paula and he was arrested without incident. A search warrant of the vehicle driven by the suspects was obtained and numerous items purchased with the stolen credit cards were recovered.
Both parties were arrested and booked into the Ventura County Pre-Trail Detention Facility for violations of California Penal Code 530.5 (a) / Identity Theft and 182 (a) (1) / Conspiracy to Commit a Crime and 496 (a) / Receiving Stolen Property.
Pedro Chavez remains in custody with his bail set at $50.000.00. His court date is 01/31/2023. Rodrigo Estrada aka Rodrigo Perez also remains in custody with his bail set at $50.000.00. His court date is 02/01/2023.
Anyone with information pertaining to crimes of this nature are urged to contact the Fillmore Police Department at (805) 524-2233, Detective Valdez, or Detective Lemar at the below listed numbers. The reporting party may remain anonymous.
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Suspects Victimize Flood Evacuee
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