PORT HUENEME (CBSLA) — Police went all in on the bathroom humor after a toilet paper caper in Port Hueneme.

Two men and a woman who were on probation were arrested Monday at the Port City Plaza Shopping Center after an officer spotted them inside a car with an open alcoholic container near the front dashboard. But that’s where the tale takes a turn that can only happen in the time of coronavirus and toilet paper hoarding.

(credit: Port Hueneme Police Department)

“What we are about to tell you should make you flush with anger. We need to stop this lawlessness which is bubbling up from the bowels of our criminal underground,” a Facebook post from the Port Hueneme Police Department said. “But our purpose is two-fold: we need to send a message and show people we are not soft on crime.”

Because the three were on probation, officers searched their vehicle and discovered a soft-ply stash — 31 rolls of toilet paper, 31 towels of various sizes, 4 sets of bed sheets and 27 tissue boxes. The officers determined the items had been stolen from a maid’s cart at a local hotel.

“We’re aware that this isn’t the crime of the century, but it’s a solid #2,” the police department quipped.

Jessica Perez, 25, and Tyson Castillo, 32, both of Oxnard and Stephen Talley, Jr., 25, of Port Hueneme, were arrested on suspicion of petty theft.

Since most of the state was placed under a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of coronavirus, toilet paper, paper towels and facial tissues have been near-impossible to find in stores due to panic buying and hoarding.

“While we are trying to protect our public from price gouging and hoarding, it stinks that we have criminals trying to steal precious supplies from our local hotels,” the department’s post said.

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