Attached is a summary of cases handled by the Santa Barbara Police Department during the past few days.
At 7:45 a.m. Thursday, detectives from the Crimes Against Property detail arrested Norma Fay White, 60, on charges of grand theft embezzlement and financial elder abuse.
The investigation began in February 2009 when the executive director of The Samarkand, 2550 Treasure Drive, reported White as a suspect in embezzling. White had been a billing clerk for Samarkand for more than 15 years but had recently been fired after accounting irregularities surfaced. After being dismissed, the Samarkand staff found evidence that White was cashing large checks on a Samarkand resident’s account. White’s job duties did not include handling the residents’ private accounts.
Detective Rashun Drayton investigated the case and determined that the primary victim, a 79-year-old woman, had lost about $300,000 in cash. White had befriended the victim after her husband died and offered to take care of some bills. In the process, White was able to embezzle the large sum of money from the victim. White was arrested at her residence in Lompoc.
Detectives are continuing to investigate whether there are any other victims in the case.
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At 7:50 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to Harding Elementary School, 1625 Robbins St., on an alarm call. The first officers on scene heard the sound of running feet in the computer lab classroom. More officers arrived in a race to seal off the campus before the suspects could escape.
A 14-year-old male and 15-year-old female were captured as they tried jumping a perimeter fence. A third suspect, a 16-year-old male, was located a few blocks away. A fourth suspect is still outstanding.
Police determined that the suspects entered the school through a bathroom window but were detected before committing any theft or damage. The three juveniles were cited for various charges, including resisting arrest, possession of alcohol and tobacco products, and trespassing.
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At 5:04 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a South Voluntario Street residence on a call of a person with mental problems threatening family members with a large stick. Police found an 18-year-old female holding a 6 foot long, 2 inch thick tree branch.
She disregarded orders to drop the branch, advanced on the officers and swung the stick at one of them. An officer used his Taser to subdue the subject, who was then detained. Paramedics transported her to Cottage Hospital, where she was admitted for psychiatric evaluation. No criminal charges are being sought.
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At 5:01 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to a suicidal subject standing at City Lot 7, 1100 Anacapa St. A crowd of bystanders directed police to the northwest corner of the building, which overlooks the back entrance to the public library and art museum.
A 53-year-old local transient man was standing on the railing, an estimated 50 feet above the concrete walkway. He shouted that he was going to jump and kill himself. As the man was distracted by police on the ground, a sergeant sprinted up the stairway to the top floor. Without being noticed, he crept close enough to grab the man and pull him to safety. The man weighed about 240 pounds, making the single-handed rescue a hazardous proposition.
Once safely detained, the intoxicated man said he was depressed and intended to kill himself. He was booked for public intoxication, and counseling at the jail was made available.
— Paul McCaffrey is public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.