Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Woman arrested after taking DHL delivery van for joy ride


A 47-year-old Buellton woman took a brief joy ride in a DHL delivery van yesterday after she saw the unoccupied yellow and red van with the keys in the ignition at Longs Drug Store on State Street, a Santa Barbara Police spokesman said.
Lt. Paul McCaffrey said Laura Rojas Alvarado stole the van at 12:10 p.m. while the driver was inside the drug store.

“The deliveryman watched helplessly as his distinctively colored bright-yellow van fled south on State Street,” McCaffrey said.
After police were dispatched to the area, he said a “be on the lookout” order was issued and a Sheriff’s Department helicopter joined in the search.
McCaffrey said the pilot, Deputy Don Harris, and his spotter, Deputy Mike Moeller, spotted the stolen van in the parking lot of the Cares Mental Health facility at 2034 De La Vina St. shortly after the search began.
“It was so darn distinct looking,” McCaffrey said. “It was easy to spot from the air.”
McCaffrey said Alvarado told police she stopped at the Cares facility to inform the staff she had taken the van. He said Alvarado was arrested without incident, but she was in possession of a large butcher knife.
“She told officers that she considered using the knife to harm herself or others,” he said.
Prior to stealing the DHL van, McCaffrey said police believe Alvarado attempted to steal a different vehicle from the Educated Car Wash at 3735 State St. In that incident, McCaffrey said a woman whose description matched that of Alvarado jumped into a customer’s vehicle that was being washed, but was stopped before driving away by car wash staff.
McCaffrey said Alvarado’s motive for taking the van was unclear as of last night, and said she was booked into county jail for alleged auto theft and possession of a dangerous weapon.

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