Ventura Sheriff and District Attorney Employees Arrested for Vandalism of BLM Sign
Source: Ventura County Sheriff's Office
A sheriff’s office employee was among three people arrested this weekend for damaging a large sign in Thousand Oaks, which displayed the letters “BLM.”
Detectives contacted Darrin Stone at his residence Friday evening while following up on several recent incidents of deliberate damage to the sign. Stone cooperated with investigators and received a misdemeanor citation for vandalism.
The sign consists of a tarp with the letters BLM painted on it and has been displayed along a fence on Westlake Boulevard for the past three weeks. It has been damaged or removed on several occasions. The owner of the sign placed a surveillance camera nearby to capture images of anyone damaging or removing it. The owner of the sign posted an image of one of the crimes on social media. When detectives saw the image posted online, they recognized the suspect as Darrin Stone and initiated a criminal investigation.
Stone was captured on camera slashing the sign with a knife on Saturday, June 13, 2020. He is accused of slashing the sign a second time in the early morning hours of Friday, June 19, 2020. Stone was off duty at the time of both incidents. In addition to being cited for vandalism, Stone has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of both criminal and administrative investigations.
Stone has been an employee of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office since 2005, and is assigned as a service technician at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura. Service technicians are non-sworn employees who primarily work in the Detention Services Division supervising inmates within their housing areas.
“I’m deeply disappointed that one of our employees involved himself in this type of illegal activity, especially when this is an infringement on someone’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech,” said Sheriff Bill Ayub. “We will not tolerate unlawful or unethical behavior by anyone employed by our agency. We hold our employees to the highest standards, and there will be consequences for this.”
Other incidents of vandalism to the sign are also under investigation. On May 31, 2020, Craig Anderson, 59, of Thousand Oaks, cut the sign down and was going to remove it from the area when he noticed the camera and left the sign at the scene. Anderson was contacted at his residence by investigators and also received a citation for vandalism. Anderson is a non-sworn investigative assistant at the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
On June 11, 2020, a man in a work truck stopped on Westlake Boulevard in front of the sign, got out of the vehicle and spray painted graffiti on the sign. Jeffrey Moore, 58, of Thousand Oaks, was identified as the suspect in that case and also received a citation for vandalism. Moore was tracked down through the company name and phone number prominently displayed on his vehicle.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is committed to safeguarding and upholding everyone’s constitutional rights as a cornerstone of the oath to which we have sworn.