Santa Barbara police have arrested a known gang member, currently on federal probation, on charges of robbery and participation in a criminal street street gang in connection after a theft of beer from a local convenience store.
Sgt. Riley Harwood said Roberto Arebalo Amador Jr., 24, of Santa Barbara is on probation for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act conspiracy and Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR) charges stemming from the Santa Barbara Police Department’s Operation Gator Roll in October 2008.
At 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Santa Barbara officers responded to a reported theft at a convenience store, according to Harwood. Responding officers located and arrested the suspect, Amador, as he was leaving the area on foot.
According to investigators, a man entered the store, took an 18-pack of beer valued at $21.48 and walked out. The clerk and two others followed the man outside, where he reportedly fought with them when they tried to stop him.
Harwood said the victims were able to get the stolen beer from the suspect, who then walked away.
Amador has large tattoos on the top and sides of his head that prominently denote his gang affiliation, tattoos that were covered at the time he was contacted by officers, Harwood said, adding that the investigation determined that he is believed to have displayed the tattoos during the theft in an effort to intimidate the victims and promote his gang.
Amador initially denied having any part in the theft, according to Harwood, but when told he was seen on video inside the store, said, “A criminal is gonna lie.”
Amador was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on the felony charges. Bail was set at $150,000.