Petty” Theft Is Never Petty

by Jake Dodge victim of burglary

One year ago I had my bike stolen at work. I know exactly who stole my bike as it’s all on video. I see the guy on a somewhat regular basis, and every time I see him, it taunts me like it was yesterday. I filed a police report, but Ventura PD wouldn’t do anything as they considered it petty theft. According to California Penal Code 484 A, petty theft is the act of stealing items valued under $950. Consequences for petty theft could be up to 6 months in jail, and up to $1,000 in fines. One day I saw him biking around the government center, which he does on a regular basis, I stopped a police car that was driving by, and told them, but they said because he wasn’t on my bike, and was now on Sheriff’s territory there was nothing they could do. The Sheriff’s department wouldn’t do anything either after I notified them that there is a bike thief who regularly bikes around the government center. I understand that the Ventura PD and Sheriff’s department have a lot on their plates and that petty theft is not highest on their priority, but when I’ve been stopped by the Ventura PD for crossing in the cross walk for not having the walking signal, or I get a $280 fine from the Sheriff Department for hiking up to the 2 trees, it really makes me question their priorities.

This is not the first time I’ve had something stolen, but it’s the first time I know who stole from me and seeing him bike around town is infuriating. One day, he had the nerve to come into my office a few months after stealing my bike. He left the bike outside, unlocked, came into my office to use the bathroom, then left. I called the cops, but they showed up too late, and I didn’t have the courage to confront him. I’ve seen him on my walk home from work, on the bike path, and at Whole Foods. I feel like a coward every time I see him.

When I tell my story to others, it saddens me to hear that just about everyone has a story of being robbed. There’s this feeling of being violated, and if you’ve ever felt it, I empathize with you. I don’t have the perfect solution for this, and there’s no way to stop all burglary, but it would be nice if the Ventura PD and Sheriff’s Department did more when the evidence is so clear. Put the guy in jail for 6 months, give him a $1,000 fine, or make him do some form of community service. “Petty” theft is never petty.

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