SPPD offers $5K reward for homicide suspects
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: August 09, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
There is a $5,000 reward out for any one of the four persons suspected by police of being involved in three separate homicides.
“It’s first come, first served,” said Santa Paula Police Lt. Ishmael Cordero of the reward. “Plus,” he noted, “whoever reports the whereabouts of a suspect first and that person is convicted will also be eligible for the $1,000 reward from Crime Stoppers ... that’s $6,000 total.”
Although the city is only able to offer the $5,000 reward once, Cordero said Crime Stoppers will pay $1,000 for reports that lead to the arrest and a criminal complaint filed against each of those listed on the poster.
Released by the SPPD Tuesday, the poster shows: Omar Ruiz, 26, of Santa Paula, wanted in connection with the May 27 homicide of Ulyses Virto; Jesse Moten 19, of Santa Paula, wanted in connection to the June 28 homicide of Joseph Arellano; and Andres Rene Rodriguez, 28, of Oxnard, and Melissa Salazar, 35, of Santa Paula, also known to reside in Oxnard and Ventura, for the July 7 homicide of Angela Bryant.
The men are all members of different criminal street gangs: Ruiz belongs to the Crazy Boyz, Moten belongs to the Crimies, and Rodriguez belongs to the Colonia Chiques (and has the gang’s CoC symbol tattooed on his head). Salazar is reportedly Rodriguez’s girlfriend.
Cordero said although the usual policy of the SPPD is to downplay gang affiliations and nicknames to avoid what gang members see as positive publicity, “We want people to know these people are gang members, they are not choir boys being accused of murder without reason.”
The reward - the money will be drawn against the city’s General Fund - is an unusual step, but Cordero said it might just be the incentive needed to have someone step forward, albeit anonymously.
“We know who our suspects are and we need information to find out where they are... we’re so close yet so far. If people are worried about speaking up, well, offering the reward will motivate them to say hey, I know where this person is.”
Cordero added the poster is being circulated widely: “We’re sending it to all the newspapers. Somebody form Oxnard might say hey, I know that guy and where he is and I could use $5,000, plus the other $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.... Whomever turns them in is anonymous - and it’s tax free!”
Cordero said if a person supplies a tip first to Crime Stoppers on the whereabouts of any of those listed on the poster, they will also be eligible for Santa Paula’s reward on the “first come, first served” basis.
Anyone with information on the four suspects is asked to contact the Santa Paula Police Department, 805-525-4474. If the caller would prefer to remain anonymous, they can call the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline, 805-933-4253-1-#.
Those with information can also call Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477). The caller may remain anonymous and the call is not recorded. Ventura County Crime Stoppers can also be contacted by texting “Busted” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Crime Stopper Tips can also be sent via the website, www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org.