Monday, July 21, 2008

Drugs, alcohol and copper theft top blotter


A would-be copper thief, an intoxicated patient at the hospital, and a fiesty bar patron are among the characters local police ran into while on the job in recent days.

July 14, 10:10 p.m. — Reports of a man breaking into the yard of a local plumbing company that has been experiencing an ongoing theft problem brought Santa Barbara police to the 600 block of N. Salsipuedes St. The first officer on the scene approached stealthily through the alley behind the yard and heard what sounded like pipes being sawed. Another officer arrived and the two approached, quickly spotting a freshly cut hole in the chain link fence.
At the other end of the yard, they found a suspect shoving copper piping under the fence. After detaining the man, police asked if he was an employee at the company, to which he responded, “No.” Asked what he was doing there, he said, “Nothing.” Authorities arrested him on suspicion of burglary. A quick canvass of the yard uncovered a pipe-cutting tool near copper filings on the ground. Police also discovered bolt cutters in the trunk of the suspect’s car in the alley.
The man said his memory of the evening’s events was vague and had no explanation for why he was found in the plumbing yard with latex gloves on, shoving copper pipes through a fence. Police arrested the 35-year-old Santa Barbara man for felony vandalism, possession of burglary tools and petty theft, booking him on $20,000 bail.

July 16, 4:35 a.m. — An intoxicated man sucker punched a nurse at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital while being treated for a head injury. The 45-year-old Santa Barbara man had been taken to the hospital after falling while drunk and hitting his head. The victim, an emergency room nurse, told police he was helping doctors treat the patient when the man looked up at him, made a fist and punched him squarely on the chin. When police arrived and talked to the suspect, he was still intoxicated and said he had no memory of hitting the nurse. Authorities arrested him for battery, booking him on $2,500 bail.

July 18, 1:15 a.m. — A 21-year-old Isla Vista woman became upset after being denied entrance to a bar at 15 W. Ortega St. and took out her frustration on the security personnel. After a bouncer refused to let her enter due to her expired license, the woman became argumentative and used profanities toward him, eventually slapping him in the face. Another security guard arrived and attempted to restrain her. The woman promptly bit that bouncer on the forearm. Police arrived and took the woman into custody. She told authorities she had slapped the first bouncer because she was frustrated and bit the second bouncer in an attempt to get away. Officers noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from the suspect, coupled with slurred speech. She also swayed toward an officer several times, forcing him to hold her up lest she collide with him. The woman admitted to drinking three shots of vodka and a mixed drink. Authorities booked her in lieu of $2,500 bail for battery and public intoxication.

July 19, 5:15 p.m. — Police spotted an unauthorized vehicle parked in a private spot in the City Hall lot on Anacapa Street. In the car, officers found a 24-year-old Montecito woman. After she consented to a search, police looked through her purse and found a baggie with five 10mg Adderall pills — medication typically used to treat narcolepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Possession of the drug without a prescription is illegal. The woman admitted the purse was hers but denied owning the pills. Police booked her on $10,000 bail for possession of a controlled substance.

July 20, 9:17 a.m. — A squabble over bathroom privileges led a 32-year-old woman to toss hot coffee in the face of a Rite-Aid store supervisor. Police received a call from the store, located at 35 S. Milpas St., and arrived to find the supervisor being treated by firefighters for a liquid burn on his face. He told authorities a woman had entered the store asking to use the bathroom. The supervisor, in the process of cleaning the restroom, told her it was out of order. The woman compliantly handed over the restroom key and left the store.
Minutes later, however, the supervisor was paged to the front of the store, where the suspect was causing a disturbance and not letting other customers check out. After asking her to leave several times and getting no reaction, the supervisor called police. When the suspect got into a confrontation with another customer, the supervisor physically led her out of the building. In front of the store, the suspect tossed a cup of steaming hot coffee at the man, hitting the left side of his face and body. After getting into a scuffle, the two were separated by passing customers.
Firefighters arrived and followed the suspect down Milpas Street. Police ultimately arrived and arrested the uncooperative and irritable woman near Cacique Street. The suspect told authorities she had returned to the store to file a complaint about the bathroom being out of order, having used a gas station bathroom across the street and purchased the hot coffee. Authorities arrested the woman for assault with a deadly weapon, booking her in lieu of $30,000 bail.

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