The following are two cases handled by Santa Barbara police officers last Friday.

At 7 a.m. Friday, officers took a report of a Chevy Cavalier stolen from lower Garden Street. At 7 p.m., a friend of the owner reported the Chevy parked unattended near Bradbury Avenue.

Fingerprints were lifted, paperwork was completed and the owner picked it up. It all seemed routine, but that was not the case.

Just five hours later, about midnight, the owner went outside after hearing strange noises. He interrupted two males in the process of stealing his Chevy. The suspects had started the engine but were having trouble driving away. Discovered in the act of grand theft auto, the suspects jumped out and ran away.

Police checked the area and found two suspects, an adult male and a juvenile male, a few blocks away. Despite matching the suspect descriptions, they denied involvement in the theft. Another officer at the scene found a cell phone in the center console, apparently abandoned by the suspects.

Meanwhile, the officer detaining the two subjects obtained their names and a phone number. On a hunch, he called the cell phone, which turned out to the one abandoned by the thieves. The suspects then admitted to both car thefts.

The suspects told the officers they would snoop in unlocked vehicles for valuables. They discovered the Chevy owner kept an extra set of keys hidden in the vehicle. That morning, they took the vehicle and hatched a plan to drive to Bakersfield. Their plan unraveled when the stolen vehicle was discovered and returned to the owner. Since they already had the keys, the suspects decided to steal it back and continue with their trip.

However, the 17-year-old driver didn’t know how to operate the manual transmission. He used his cell phone as a light source to figure out how to shift. When discovered, the suspects fled, leaving the cell phone by the shift column.

Christopher Deal, 21, who is from the Baltimore and Florida regions, was arrested for auto theft and conspiracy. The 17-year-old juvenile male was arrested for auto theft, conspiracy, and possession of burglary tools, tobacco and marijuana.

. . .

Jeffrey Huddleston

Jeffrey Huddleston

At 6:35 p.m. Friday, two officers responded to the McDonald’s restaurant on Milpas Street on a call of a security guard detaining a man who passed a counterfeit $20 bill.

They contacted Jeffrey Huddleston, 50, accused of passing a $20 to buy a cheeseburger for $1.09.

During the transaction, the 16-year-old clerk noticed the bill was fake. She told her manager, who instructed the security guard to detain the suspect until police arrived.

The officers questioned Huddleston, who denied knowing the bill was bogus. Police followed up by searching his vehicle parked in the parking lot and his residence in the 4600 block of Malaga Circle. They found other counterfeit bills and evidence of drug use.

Huddleston was booked for counterfeiting and possession of drug paraphernalia.

— Paul McCaffrey is a public information officer for the Santa Barbara Police Department.