Santa Barbara police have arrested a felony probationer on suspicion of vehicle tampering and resisting or delaying an officer, both misdemeanors, and violation of probation, a felony.
Sgt. Riley Harwood said David Phillip Nieman, 22, a transient originally from Eureka, has had contacts with the Santa Barbara Police Department since August 2012, and he is on probation for assault with a deadly weapon.
Santa Barbara police officers responded shortly before noon last Friday to City Lot No. 10 in the 600 block of Anacapa Street on a call of someone opening the doors to vehicles parked in the lot, according to Harwood.
He said officers entered the lot from different locations, and Nieman was located on Level B.
Harwood said Nieman, who was carrying a backpack, was reportedly observed by the officers looking into several parked vehicles and trying to open car doors. They reportedly saw him get into a red Ford Mustang with Utah license plates and remain inside the car for several seconds. He then continued to look into other vehicles until he noticed the officers.
Harwood said Nieman then allegedly tried to flee, disobeyed commands to stop and attempted to discard his backpack while running away. After a brief foot pursuit, he was taken into custody on Level C.
Officers recovered a set of jumper cables from his backpack that Nieman admitted he took from a car in the lot, according to Harwood. He said a sunglasses case was found on the ground, which Nieman also reportedly said he took from a vehicle.
Harwood said Nieman would not disclose from which vehicles the items came from, and the victims of the thefts have not yet been located.
Nieman was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail. The misdemeanors carry a bail amount of $2,500. The violation of probation has no bail.