Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two cars vandalized by gangs


A group of known gang members armed with clubs and knives stopped their black SUV on the 300 block of Ladera St. last night, and began vandalizing two vehicles, one of which was occupied by a 24-year-old man, a spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department said.
“One suspect approached his vehicle on foot, smashed out the driver’s window, and brandished a large butcher knife,” said Lt. Paul McCaffrey. “The frightened victim slid across the glass covered seat and escaped out the passenger door.”

McCaffrey said police responded to the scene at 7:40 p.m. and found another vehicle with a broken window and pry marks on a door.
He said the man, whose car was vandalized, told police he heard the suspects yell derogatory comments about a rival gang before leaving the scene.
About an hour later, McCaffrey said an officer at the USA Gas Station at 8 S. Milpas St. saw a black Ford Explorer that matched the suspect vehicle’s description and began to investigate.
“As Officer Castro contacted the driver to investigate, he saw several open containers of beer and a large butcher knife in plain view,” McCaffrey said.
He said officers also found an illegal knife, metal pipe and screwdriver, all of which he said are commonly used by gang members as weapons.
“A witness in the earlier vandalism case identified the driver as the suspect who smashed his window and threatened him with the butcher knife,” McCaffrey said.
The men arrested were, Emilio Mora, 19, Roberto Amador, 19, Jose Pedro Zavala, 21 and two 17-year-old males.
Two hours after these five men were arrested, two teens sitting in a vehicle at the Franklin Center at 1100 E. Mason Street were confronted by three teens who McCaffrey said are believed to be gang members.
McCaffrey said the two teens were punched, threatened and robbed of $10 before one of the suspects cut one of the victim’s hands with a knife.
McCaffrey said this assault remains under investigation and no arrests have been made.

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