Saturday, February 6 , 2016, 2:41 am | Fair 41º

Woman Arrested in Burglary, Arson at Santa Maria Church

By Michelle Nelson, Noozhawk Managing Editor | @NoozhawkNews | updated logo 8:24 a.m. |

Santa Maria police arrested a 24-year-old woman early Thursday in connection with a break-in and arson at St. John Neumann Catholic Church on West Orchard Street.

Officers responding to the church about 3:20 a.m. on a fire alarm call discovered smoke, a shattered window and a religious statue that had been knocked over. Extensive damage had been done to the inside of the church, according to police.

Amanda Ruiz of Santa Maria was found playing a piano inside the church, Sgt. Jack Dunn said.

Ruiz was arrested on charges of burglary, arson and felony vandalism, according to Dunn.

The Santa Maria Fire Department also responded to put out a fire, which police say appeared to have been intentionally set.

Officers recovered narcotics paraphernalia from inside the church, Dunn said.

The investigation was continuing, and anyone with information about the case can call the Police Department at 805.928.3781.

Noozhawk managing editor Michelle Nelson can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 11.21.12 @ 09:25 AM

Amanda Ruiz of Santa Maria was found playing a piano inside the church,SERIOUSLY? That is why they call it DOPE!!!! I mean really. This is where jails/prisons aren’t always “for some” a good or right punishment. Put her in Delancey Street it’s Worse then any prison. And if she actually makes it..She will graduate and be a productive member of society. Not 100% guaranteed. But studies have proven and in my own personal experience of being in addiction and given the chance of recovery, jails are less affective. Also more expensive for those who are already productive members of society. “THE INSANITY OF THE DISEASE” Reading this article first thing this AM just made me even more grateful for all of those who took a chance on me and chose a program over jail. I truly
hope she gets the help she needs. By the grace of God go I.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.