A 28-year-old Santa Barbara man is facing attempted-extortion and elder-abuse charges stemming from a fabricated traffic accident earlier this month, Santa Barbara police said Saturday.
Matthew Rene Brown was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on Friday after being arrested on a $50,000 warrant, said Sgt. Riley Harwood, a police spokesman.
Brown allegedly approached a 67-year-old motorist in the 100 block of West Mission Street at about 6:15 p.m. Aug. 1, and angrily said the man had just struck Brown with his Mercedes-Benz as he was crossing the street at Chapala and Mission streets, Harwood said.
Brown also said the man had committed a crime — hit and run — because he did not stop after the alleged incident, Harwood said.
“Brown is significantly larger than the victim, and throughout the incident angrily uttered obscenities and derided the victim, causing the victim to be fearful for his safety,” Harwood said.
The victim did not believe he had been involved in a collision, Harwood said, but exchanged personal information as required when an accident occurs, because Brown demanded it.
No collision occurred, but Brown subsequently contacted the victim and demanded $5,000 as compensation, said Harwood, adding that Brown said he wanted the money in cash, and warned the victim not to report the incident to the police or to his insurance company.
The victim did notify police, however, and Officer Jaycee Hunter began an investigation.
Hunter discovered that Brown is on probation from a felony case in which he stole $7,000 from an elderly woman he knew by writing forged checks on her account, Harwood said.
Hunter obtained an arrest warrant for Brown, which was served Friday, along with a search warrant, at his apartment in the 1800 block of Bath Street.
Brown’s girlfriend — Alexis Janelle Flores, 25 — and her 3-year-old son were at the apartment when Brown was being taken into custody, and officers determined that she was under the influence of heroin, Harwood said.
In the apartment, investigators found heroin and drug paraphernalia, which were accessible to the toddler, Harwood said.
Flores was arrested on suspicion of possession of heroin, possession of narcotics paraphernalia, being under the influence of heroin, and child endangerment, he said.
She was booked into County Jail, with bail set at $10,000.
Child Welfare Services was called in, and the boy was placed in the custody of Flores’ family, Harwood said.