Several self-storage spaces in Canyon Country were burglarized between December 25th and 30th on the 18600 block of Via Princessa. The arrests came on Saturday, December 31st after a police investigation conducted by the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station deputies. A witness has stated that three suspects were arrested at gunpoint after a vehicle pursuit, with one of the suspects briefly fleeing on foot before he was apprehended.
The suspects, Andrew Blitz, 29 and Kelly Hudak, 30, both Valencia residents were arrested under suspicion of identity theft after being found with four people’s credit cards. The third suspect, Joshua Craig Bareman, 40, of Canyon Country, was arrested under suspicion of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent. All three suspects face felony charges, and Sheriff’s station deputies are currently looking for any additional victims who may be as yet unaware that they have been victimized.
Identity theft is covered under California Penal Code 530.5 PC and is described as the taking of another person’s identifying information and using it in a fraudulent or unlawful manner. In many cases, the personal identifying information obtained by identity thieves will be bank account information and/or social security numbers that are used to obtain credit cards. The vagueness of the description, though, means that a person’s personal identifying information could be a wide variety of items, including ID cards.
The crime is a “wobbler,” meaning that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Possible penalties for misdemeanor charges include up to 1 year in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. For felonies, the possible penalties include 16 months to 3 years in county jail and/or a fine of $10,000.
Taking a car without the owner’s consent, often referred to as “joyriding” is covered under California Vehicle Code 10851 VC and is described as taking someone’s automobile without their consent, but only intending to keep it for a short amount of time. Like identity theft, Vehicle Code 10851 VS is a “wobbler.” Misdemeanor charges include the possible penalties of up to 1 year in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000, while felony charges include jail time of up to 3 years and a fine of up to $5,000.