Monday, February 25, 2008

Police handle vandalism, stabbing during weekend


Santa Barbara police dealt with gang-related vandalism, drunk drivers, a stabbing and an unruly nightclub patron during a busy weekend for law enforcement.

On Friday at 3:24 p.m., Santa Barbara police officers near the intersection of Elizabeth and Montecito streets were helping a semitrailer driver back out onto the street when they spotted a group of known gang members loitering in front of a nearby store. Several suspects kept walking next to the truck, hindering the driver’s ability to back up. Then, as police looked on, several of them began tagging gang symbols on the side of the truck as another acted as a lookout.
When a witness approached the vandals and told them to stop, one made threatening comments. Officers approached and attempted to arrest the juvenile taggers, who both became combative. The lookout, who police recognized as a known gang member, approached the officers as they attempted to handcuff the vandals and reportedly said “What are you doing?” and “Don’t trip, fool.” Officers were forced to Taser one of the taggers in order to place him in handcuffs. Fearing for their safety as the other gang member continued to approach, they drew and aimed their firearms at him, ordering him to the ground.
After handcuffing the 18-year-old, they found a large folding knife in his pocket, which he told police was “for work.” Authorities arrested him for resisting or obstructing police officers and participating in a known street gang. Officers also arrested a 14-year-old for vandalism and threatening a witness with gang enhancements, as well as a 17-year-old for vandalism and resisting arrest with gang enhancements.

On Saturday at 5:30 p.m., police headed to 501 N. Milpas St. after a citizen reported a suspected drunk driver. A license plate check on the car revealed it had been reported as stolen out of San Diego, Calif. Upon arrival, officers found a 40-year-old man in the driver’s seat.
When they ordered him to exit the car, he started the engine and put it in reverse. After they ordered him to turn the car off, he complied and stepped out of the vehicle. Police noted he seemed unsteady, smelled heavily of alcohol and was wearing clothing with theft sensor tags. A sobriety test revealed his blood-alcohol content to be 0.28, more than three times the legal limit.
The man admitted to stealing clothing from a Macy’s department store in Ventura before driving to Santa Barbara. He said the owner of the vehicle gave him the car until she could pay off a drug debt. Authorities booked him on $25,000 bail for vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, driving under the influence and driving without a license.

At 9 p.m. on Saturday, officers arrived at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital after staff reported a potential assault with a deadly weapon. Upon arrival, they contacted a 21-year-old Santa Barbara resident who was “very general” when describing the attack. He told police he had been in the area of Carpinteria and South Soledad streets at 8 p.m. when two men confronted him. He said the suspects, both believed to be gang members, had yelled out gang slogans as one stabbed him multiple times on the head.
The victim fled the scene and made it to the home of a relative, who drove him to the hospital, where he received treatment for non-life-threatening wounds. Police are still investigating the incident.

At 11 p.m., a taxi driver told police that a man had robbed him at knifepoint inside his taxicab. Authorities said the suspect made off with $300 after holding up the cab near 500 E. Yanonali St.

At 11:30 p.m., officers in the Special Enforcement Team were patrolling along Carpinteria Street when they spotted a 24-year-old man wanted by authorities. After the suspect spotted police, he took off on foot. Officers gave chase and followed him to a home in the 900 block of Quinientos Street. As he entered the home, police spotted a second suspect, a 25-year-old, also wanted by authorities. Once additional officers arrived, police took both men into custody for parole violation and assault with a deadly weapon. Both men are suspected of being involved in a gang-related stabbing on Micheltorena Street earlier this year.

On Sunday at 12:46 a.m., security at Tonic nightclub reported a man had become violent and attacked several bouncers and a patron. A subsequent investigation by police revealed a 27-year-old Lake Elsinore, Calif., man had become agitated when bouncers wouldn’t allow his brother to enter the club. After threatening that he had a handgun, the man punched two bouncers, causing lacerations, and then punched a patron standing outside. He admitted to the assault and being “out of control.” Officers arrested him for battery and booked him on $2,500 bail.

At 9:50 p.m. on Sunday, a 35-year-old woman called police to report suspicious circumstances at her home in the 500 block of E. Anapamu Street. She told officers she had been in the kitchen when she heard a rattle at the front door. When she opened the door, she found a plastic shopping bag tied to the outside doorknob containing a pornographic DVD. She told authorities she did not spot any suspects and has no idea who might have left the DVD.

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