Men accused of vandalizing Black Lives Matter sign in Westlake Village work for sheriff, DA

Three Thousand Oaks men — including two who worked for local law enforcement agencies — were recently arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign in Westlake Village, authorities said.
The misdemeanor arrests were announced Saturday night by Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub's office. The announcement covered multiple incidents over the last three weeks.
"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," Ayub said in a statement. "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."
The sign, described as a tarp with the letters BLM painted on it, has been displayed on a fence on Westlake Boulevard for the past three weeks, officials said, and has been damaged or removed on several occasions.
The sign's owner installed a surveillance camera to document damage, officials said. When video of one of the crimes was posted on social media, detectives with the sheriff's office recognized employee Darrin Stone, 60, the agency reported.
Stone was caught on camera slashing the sign with a knife on June 13 and is also accused of slashing the sign again in the early morning hours of June 19, officials said. Stone was off duty both times.
Detectives contacted Stone at his home Friday evening. He reportedly cooperated and received a misdemeanor citation for vandalism, according to sheriff's officials. He has also been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of criminal and administrative investigations.
Stone has been a civilian employee of the sheriff's office since 2005. He is a non-sworn service technician at the pre-trial detention facility in Ventura, tasked with supervising inmates in their housing areas.

Another Thousand Oaks man, 59-year-old Craig Anderson, was allegedly caught on camera on May 31 cutting the sign down. Anderson was reportedly going to remove it but noticed the camera and left the scene, according to the sheriff's account.
Anderson, a non-sworn investigative assistant at Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten's office, also received a citation for misdemeanor vandalism, officials said.
On Saturday night, Totten's office issued a release saying officials learned about the vandalism citation Saturday afternoon. Anderson, who was off duty at the time of the alleged incident, had worked for the DA's office for four months, officials said.
He has since resigned, according to Totten's statement. The citation will be referred to the Attorney General's office as a matter of DA policy, officials said.
A 58-year-old man who works for a private company has also been cited for allegedly damaging the sign. The Thousand Oaks resident was seen June 11 stopping his work truck in front of the sign, getting out and spray painting graffiti on it. The man was tracked down through the company name and number displayed on the truck.
The Star generally does not publish names of people arrested solely on suspicion of misdemeanor offenses. In some cases, including incidents involving public employees or law enforcement personnel, editors choose to publish names, which are a matter of public record.
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