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Local News

Woman Fends Off Would-Be Robber at Bank ATM

Santa Barbara police also pursue a speeding vehicle and respond to an Ortega Street stabbing

A strong arm robbery occurred about 5:30 p.m. Saturday in front of the ATM at Chase Bank at 3768 State St.

The female victim told Santa Barbara police officers that she had withdrawn $100 from the ATM when a man walked up to her and demanded her purse and the money. When the victim refused, the suspect pushed the victim to the ground and started grabbing her purse and the cash.

The victim fought back, kicking the suspect in the groin and yelling for help. When the victim’s husband ran to her aid, the suspect jumped on a white bicycle and headed southbound on Hitchcock Way.

The suspect was described as a white male, 20 to 30 years old, slender build, last seen wearing a green shirt and unknown color shorts. The victim was able to retain her purse and $100.

Pursuit Ends in Arrest

An officer was en route to an assignment at the Santa Barbara Bowl about 2:30 p.m. Sunday when a black 1998 Honda Civic traveling northbound at a high rate of speed made the left turn on the curve at Anapamu Street and almost “lost it,” police said. The vehicle continued westbound, and the officer made a U-turn to stop it.

The officer lost sight of the vehicle at the intersection of Alta Vista Avenue. A citizen motioned toward Alta Vista, and the officer could see the vehicle accelerating away. Police continued northbound and activated the lights and siren, hoping the violator would see them and pull over. The vehicle continued without yielding and made several turns in an effort to evade police.

The vehicle got caught in heavy traffic at Garden and Mission streets. A high-risk stop was conducted and the driver was arrested without incident.

Steven Robert Rocha, 18, was arrested for felony evading, reckless driving, exhibition of speed and a multitude of infractions including unsafe passing and driving left of center.

Stabbing on Ortega Street

Police officers were called to a stabbing at 116 W. Ortega St. about 9 p.m. Monday.

Officers found a 21-year-old male with multiple stab wounds and his 21-year-old girlfriend with an injury to her face.

The initial investigation determined that the residents to the front of the complex at 116 W. Ortega St. attacked the victim and his girlfriend while they were moving out of a cottage to the rear of the complex. The attack stemmed from an argument over the possibility that the victim hit the suspect’s family car while moving.

Luis Sotelo Mendoza, 51, reportedly initiated the fight. Mendoza then called his family, including his son, Daniel Sotelo, 19; his wife, Modesta Ochoa Sotelo, 44; and his son’s friends. Police say the family then attacked the victims.

Modesta Ochoa Sotelo suffered from a stab wound to her arm. All injured parties were transported to Cottage Hospital. Luis Sotelo Mendoza and Daniel Sotelo were taken into custody.

The 21-year-old male victim underwent surgery and was admitted into the ICU of the hospital. The female victim received sutures on her lip and was released. Modesta Ochoa Sotelo was treated, then transported to the police station for investigation.

Daniel Sotelo was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of attempted murder and mayhem. Luis Sotelo Mendoza was released from the station with battery charges against him referred to the district attorney’s office. Modesta Ochoa Sotelo was questioned and released. 

The investigation is continuing. One suspect remains outstanding.

— Sgt. Lorenzo Duarte is a spokesman with the Santa Barbara Police Department.

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