Worrisome social media post sparks concern, prompts sheriff investigation

Ventura County Sheriff's Office.

A “rambling” and ambiguous social media message posted Wednesday, which was interpreted by some as an alleged threat, led to the author’s arrest recently — on an unrelated drug possession charge. and abandoning all suspicion of threats.

Detectives with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday they arrested the man who made the social media post, but ultimately found no evidence of a threat.

A 27-year-old man from Thousand Oaks, identified by Ventura deputies as the social media poster, was instead arrested Thursday on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance.

“Earlier this past week, the Thousand Oaks Police Department became aware of rambling and disturbing social media posts by a local individual that seemed intent on fabricating a link

between the Borderline tragedy and a foreign militant group,” Ventura Sheriff Captain Denise Sliva wrote in a news release.

Although no direct threat was communicated in the social media posts, the posts were, according to Sliva, “disturbing, insensitive and concerning to the Thousand Oaks Police Department and a community still trying to heal from a historically tragic event.”

Because the social media message was posted the day before the Canyon Club in Santa Clarita was scheduled to hold its Borderline Country Night, the club owner called the SCV Sheriff’s Station.

Lance Sterling, owner of the Canyon Club, called local sheriff’s deputies when he learned of the obscure social media post, which mentioned “Paris event” and “Borderline Shooting.”

“We monitor all of our social media mentions,” Sterling said Thursday.

“This was a loosely veiled threat,” he said. “So, I notified the sheriff right away.”

“We conducted an investigation and determined that it was non credible,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station, said Thursday noting “we enlisted the help of Major Crimes (Bureau).”

On Thursday night, the club held its Borderline Country Night without incident Thursday featuring line dancing and country music as planned.  

Concerns about Borderline stem from the mass shooting that took the lives of 13 people in Thousand Oaks on Nov. 7, 2018.

“We assigned extra patrols around the club for Thursday night,” Miller said Thursday, adding “We just want people to feel better seeing the extra security.”

The Canyon Club is a performance venue situated inside the Westfield Valencia Town Center mall  which books musicians and other acts daily.

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