Monday, May 12, 2008

Authorities busy with thieves, drunks, vandals


Deadly weapons, drunk drivers, embezzlement and "unintended" vandalism kept Santa Barbara police out in force during the weekend.

May 9, 1:16 a.m. — Police arrived at 800 Chapala St. after receiving reports of a vandalism that had just occurred. Officers found a 27-year-old Santa Barbara man who admitted to kicking the receiving bay doors at Nordstrom, resulting in damage estimated at more than $400. The suspect told authorities he was just “having fun” and didn’t intend to cause damage. Police booked him into jail in lieu of $20,000 bail for felony vandalism.

May 10, 7:15 a.m. — Police stopped a 57-year-old man after noting he was in possession of a shopping cart, a municipal code violation. The man told police he had been arrested earlier this year for possession and use of a controlled substance, but was now leading a drug-free life. A search of the suspect and his belongings revealed 74 grams of marijuana and two Vicodin pills. Officers booked the man into jail for possession of marijuana and a controlled substance.

May 10, 1:21 p.m. — Officers spoke with two women who reported property and cash stolen by contractors working in their home in the 1300 block of Los Alamos Place. The victims told police a Palm Pilot, a laptop computer and $40 cash had been stolen. Police talked to a 47-year-old plumber who had been working in the house. He denied knowing anything about the missing items. A search of his vehicle failed to turn up any evidence.
However, when one of the victims found $40 tossed in a storm drain near the home where the suspect had been working, police brought the man back for another round of questioning. He admitted to taking the items and police recovered the laptop, which had apparently been tossed into a trashcan at Las Positas and Modoc roads. Authorities booked the man into jail for grand theft.

May 10, 3:15 p.m. — Authorities arrived at Albertsons, 3943 State St., after receiving reports from store security about a possible embezzlement investigation. By the time police arrived, the suspect, an 18-year-old Santa Barbara man, had written and signed a full confession explaining how he had stolen merchandise and cash, in addition to misusing store coupons to benefit his friends and family. Authorities estimated the value of stolen items at $1,850 and determined the embezzlement had occurred during the past two years as the suspect worked as a checkout clerk.

May 10, 10:39 p.m. — Officers on patrol along Castillo Street spotted two young men and stopped them for possible curfew violations. Police determined one of the suspects to be a juvenile and found him to be in possession of a knife and beer. His companion, a 19-year-old, had attempted to leave with two others who police were unable to detain. Authorities said the suspects had baggy clothing and appeared to be attempting to conceal something. The 19-year-old eventually pulled out a 2-foot wooden stick he had hidden in his pants. Police determined he had no legitimate reason for having it other than to use as a weapon and booked the man in lieu of $20,000 bail for possession of a deadly weapon.

May 11, 3:48 a.m. — Authorities arrested a 35-year-old Los Angeles man for hit-and-run, driving under the influence and driving without a license. The victim of the hit-and-run, a cab driver with Fiesta Taxi, told police he followed the suspect from Milpas and Haley streets and watched as he drove the wrong way down Haley Street. After running a red light, the man stopped for police. With slurred speech, an odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes and an unsteady stance, the man exhibited all the signs of driving under the influence.

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