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Local News

Facebook Photo Leads to Arrest of Fugitive Steven Kunes

Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a felony fugitive from the Santa Barbara area who reportedly escaped from his electronic monitoring device six months ago, after a citizen recognized the man from a photo posted on the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page.

Steven Kunes
Steven Kunes

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said Steven Kunes, 56, was spotted about 11:15 a.m. Sunday by a citizen at a restaurant in the 700 block of Linden Avenue in Carpinteria. She said the citizen, who had seen Kunes’ booking photo on Facebook, contacted a friend to confirm his suspicion, and the friend then called 9-1-1.

Hoover said deputies responded to the restaurant and took Kunes into custody. He is in the County Jail pending arraignment. No bail was set.

Hoover said Kunes, a Pennsylvania resident who has lived in Montecito, has an extensive criminal history that includes forgery, grand theft and commercial burglary.

He was serving out a five-year sentence after pleading guilty in May 2012 to grand theft by false pretenses and second-degree commercial burglary for trying to pass bad checks at Montecito Bank & Trust, and was approved for electronic monitoring on Aug. 1, 2012.

On Aug. 22, according to Hoover, an alert sounded that Kunes’ device had been cut at the FedEx on Hope Avenue. She said Kunes mailed his device to a custody deputy at the jail and then fled the area. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Kunes, who has claimed to be a screenwriter, has submitted plagiarized works to local publications, including Noozhawk, that were taken from Newsweek columnists. After discovering two fraudulent essays, Noozhawk removed his other columns from the site.

Click here to visit the Sheriff’s Department Facebook page for information on other wanted suspects.

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.

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