Monday, April 28, 2008

Thefts, sexual assault top police blotter


Filling the Santa Barbara police blotter this week are several thefts, a sexual assault, DUI checkpoint arrests and drug abuse cases.

April 22 — Police began investigating the theft of approximately $32,000 from the Eastside Boys & Girls Club at 632 E. Canon Perdido St. Detectives learned that the organization had a fundraising auction on April 18 and placed the donations in a locked metal file cabinet until they could be deposited in the bank. Between April 21 and April 22, someone stole the bag of money and officials suspected an employee may have been responsible for the theft.
After several interviews, detectives identified a 39-year-old employee, Mychelle Garcia, as a potential suspect. A search of her residence on April 23 uncovered a large amount of money suspected of being a portion of the stolen donations. After being led to an additional home, officers found checks and credit card receipts from donations given to the Boys & Girls Club. Officers arrested Garcia on suspicion of grand theft.

April 23, 3:10 p.m. — Authorities received numerous calls about a man in a black jacket attempting to steal a car in the 800 block of Chapala Street. Others reported the man appeared to be very intoxicated and was attempting to drive home. When police arrived, the man had left the vehicle and was on the ground between two buildings. Officers noted the man, later identified as a 40-year-old transient, appeared to be extremely intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. He could hardly speak and continually fell asleep as police attempted to question him.
A search of the man uncovered a prescription bottle with numerous types of pills, including morphine, Lorazapam and Seriquel. The suspect only had a prescription for one of the medications. Authorities took the man to the emergency room, booking him into jail on $10,000 bail upon his release.

April 23, 7:25 p.m. — Police arrived at Scolari’s Food and Drug Co. at 222 N. Milpas St. after employees called about a shoplifter. An investigation revealed the suspect, a 49-year-old man, had entered the store, asked for a Scolari’s bag at the register, and proceeded to place a half-gallon tub of ice cream and a 12-pack of Budweiser in the bag as the employee watched. The suspect then exited the store, making no effort to stop at the register to pay for the items. After the employee confronted the shoplifter outside and took the items back, the man admitted to shoplifting in a similar manner on at least 20 other occasions without being caught.
After police arrived, he waived his rights and told them he had a drinking problem. He also admitted to having no money and said he wanted beer. He told officers he knows shoplifting is illegal but didn’t care.

April 23, 11:10 p.m. — Officers arrived at a Santa Barbara home after receiving reports of a stolen vehicle. The victim told police a friend, a 20-year-old local resident, had borrowed a Toyota Camry and said he would be back in a few minutes. The victim called police after an hour had lapsed. Once the suspect returned on foot, officers discovered the man was on active probation. A search revealed codeine elixir in his pocket that was prescribed to someone else. The suspect refused to give the location of the vehicle and police had to search the area to track it down. Authorities booked the man on $30,000 bail for possession of a controlled substance and grand theft auto.

April 26, 12:45 a.m. — Witnesses flagged down police officers after seeing a man sexually harassing women in the 500 block of State Street. Upon arrival, officers found a 24-year-old woman who said the man, later identified as a 51-year-old resident, came up behind her and fondled her underneath her dress. Other witnesses reported that the man had been engaging in similar behavior with other women for approximately 30 minutes. After arresting the man for sexual battery, investigating officers discovered he had also been exposing himself. He was booked into County Jail for felony sexual battery and indecent exposure.

April 26 — Officers conducted two DUI and driver’s license checkpoints in Santa Barbara, netting three arrests and six citations. A checkpoint at 700 E. Canon Perdido St. nabbed a suspect for possession of a controlled substance, providing false information to a peace officer, and driving on a suspended license. Four citations were also handed out to suspects driving without a license. At the 1100 San Andres St. checkpoint, officers arrested two suspects on suspicion of driving under the influence and cited two others for driving without a license. Authorities towed a total of eight vehicles from both locations.

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