A routine traffic stop in Carpinteria led to the arrest of an Arroyo Grande couple allegedly responsible for a string of Honda thefts on the South Coast, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies also discovered a cache of stolen electronics, cash and drugs in their vehicle, said sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.
Zachary Hamlin, 33, and his girlfriend, Amy Northcote, 39, both of Arroyo Grande, were arrested at 11 a.m. Thursday on the 5500 block of Carpinteria Avenue after being pulled over for a traffic violation, Hoover said.
The deputy saw that the vehicle and the suspects matched the description of two people reported to be involved in mail theft.
The deputy determined that Hamlin was on active probation in San Luis Obispo County for theft related charges, and that Northcote was wanted by the Pismo Beach Police Department for similar charges, Hoover said.
Deputies searched the car and discovered a large amount of stolen property, identity-theft materials, narcotics and U.S. currency, Hoover said.
Deputies also found methamphetamine and cash in the couple’s vehicle, along with a large amount of stolen property connected to the recent Honda auto burglaries reported in Carpinteria, Montecito, Santa Barbara and Isla Vista, Hoover said.
“Some of the items included GPS units, iPhones, credit cards, electronic devices, cell phones, checks, I.D. cards, purses and clothing,” Hoover said.
A large amount of stolen mail from residents in Montecito, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County also was located in the vehicle, along with more than a half ounce of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $1,000 along with drug paraphernalia.
Hoover said there were tools used to break into Hondas and other vehicles strewn about the car and collected as evidence.
Hamlin and Northcote were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of transportation of methamphetamine, possession of stolen property, false personation of another, identity and mail theft, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of burglary tools and possession of false government seals, Hoover said.
Bail was set at $500,000 each.
The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges for the suspects were expected to be filed with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office in the near future, Hoover said.
Residents who may have been the victim of a recent auto burglary, specifically from a Honda Accord or Honda Civic, are encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency as their property may have been recovered.