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Three Police Officers, Two Police Cars, One Pick Pocket, One Tube Of Ointment!!

Updated on February 3, 2014
Burn on Artuga's hand
Burn on Artuga's hand | Source
Margarito Artuga, shortly before riding off on his bike
Margarito Artuga, shortly before riding off on his bike | Source
2 cop cars parked in front of Vons for over 3 hours over a $15 tube of ointment! Allegedly stolen from Rite Aid, which sits next to Vons!
2 cop cars parked in front of Vons for over 3 hours over a $15 tube of ointment! Allegedly stolen from Rite Aid, which sits next to Vons! | Source
Artuga as he appeared in the back of the first squad car belonging to Ventura County!
Artuga as he appeared in the back of the first squad car belonging to Ventura County! | Source

Police respond with overkill to a pick pocket in Ventura, California

Ventura,CA-On a recent Sunny Southern California day something hard to believe, occurred. It was hard to believe in lieu of the current economic climate, with almost daily city, county and state, cutbacks occurring. A Hispanic man of about 45 was getting a late start, he was getting ready to start his day in front of a local 'Home Depot' store. The man, Margarito Artuga, of Ventura, routinely goes to 'Home Depot' or stores just like it, to look for work. Often times Artuga and others gather there to wait for people that drive to the stores looking for cheap labor to work on different types of construction and labor jobs.

However, this Saturday morning was a little different for Artuga, he had a serious burn on his hand, and he was fearful that it was getting worse, and possibly even may be getting infected. The problem was, Artuga had no money, and no medical insurance. He decided to make a quick stop at the 'Rite Aid' on Thompson Blvd in Ventura, to pick up some ointment for his hand.

He did exactly that, he 'picked up some ointment' and put it in his pocket and before he made it out the front door, he was stopped by a store detective, and detained for the police. Within 15 minutes, a Ventura County black and white showed up with two police officers in it. The car parked at the adjacent Vons supermarket.

Artuga, was held in a room inside of the store, he was questioned, according to him, he told the police he couldn't work with the burn on his hand, and he had no money, and no insurance. Another Ventura County police car arrived about 20 minutes after the first one, with an additional officer in it. About 30 minutes after Artuga was caught he was led out of the store in handcuffs and placed in one of the cars.

According to the police, Artuga gave them a false ID and he was drunk, he claims neither is true. The police claim they had to run a mobile ID check on him in one of the cars. Artuga allegedly shoplifted a 15 dollar tube of ointment. Three police officers in two police cars were on the scene for over three hours, at what cost to the Ventura County tax payers? What about the lives and property they could have been saving in those 3 hours? There have been weekly announcements of budget cuts all across Ventura County, since the start of this new year alone. Many insiders predict 2014 will see numerous budget cuts to city and county services.

The official police report of the 'Rite Aid' pick pocket incident, indicates that from the time the call was made to 911, and the incident was considered over was less then 60 minutes. However multiple witnesses on the scene, have stated the police and their cars were on the scene for over three hours. Artuga, is also claiming that he informed officers that he was having extreme pain in his hand and he thought he was running a fever. He goes on to claim that medical assistance was never offered to him by the police, after he repeatedly asked for help, saying his hand was hurting and infected. Artuga expressed extreme remorse and embarrassment when he was interviewed shortly after being released. He said, " I never did anything like this before, not one time. I just don't have insurance, and I wanted to get something for my hand and go to find work. I know it's wrong and I feel really bad, and I am so sorry I did it." When asked how he felt about all of this over a small tube of ointment, he said "I can't believe it, the guy that lives next door to me, beats his wife and children every single day, a few blocks from here, probably right now."

After over three hours Artuga was released from the car, and given a citation to appear in court on February 25, which carries the same weight as a traffic citation. According to the police, Atruga was drunk and gave them a fake ID, yet he was released, and allowed to ride off on his bike, not arrested and put in a drunk tank! When he was interviewed within minutes of his release from the patrol car, no scent of alcohol was detected or noticeable. The police and patrol cars remained on the scene for an additional 25 minutes, after Artuga had already left the area. The three police officers were viewed drinking soda and water, talking, laughing, talking on and checking cell phones, while still on the scene. Do you think that this type of police presence and expense is necessary or justified for this type of crime? In these times, when there are libraries, schools, programs, and several other federal, state entities closing regularly due to lack of funds? Sound off below!


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