Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 10:33 am | Overcast 67º


Santa Barbara Police Log: Officers Investigate Fraud, Drug Cases

Other calls include vandalism, prowling and indecent exposure

A sampling of criminal incidents handled by the Santa Barbara Police Department in the past week:

» At 3 p.m. Friday, an officer noticed a silver Jaguar with expired registration drive into a private lot at 300 S. Milpas St. and park in a position that blocked other drivers. The officer drove into the lot, stopped behind the Jaguar and walked up to the driver’s window. The officer surprised the driver, a 34-year-old male, in the act of smoking suspected crystal meth. A crack pipe was in his left hand, a lighter in his right and two bindles of suspected meth in his lap. He was arrested for drug possession and parole violation.

» At 3:40 p.m. Friday, an officer handled an embezzlement investigation at Sephora, 701 Paseo Nuevo. Store security presented evidence that a three-year employee, a 22-year-old male, had embezzled more than $1,150 during the past four months. The employee was accused of ringing up fraudulent returns and crediting the cash value to his credit cards. He was arrested for grand theft embezzlement and burglary.

» At 8 a.m. Saturday, a city parks employee discovered two large concrete planters tipped over and broken at Chase Palm Park, 323 E. Cabrillo Blvd. The estimated loss was $1,500. The investigating officer contacted a group of homeless people who frequently camp behind the structure. Two of them said they witnessed the vandalism. Just after daybreak, a man who appeared “angry” walked through the area, tipping over numerous trashcans. The officer detained a 39-year-old male who matched the description of the suspect and was walking in the immediate area. The two witnesses made a positive identification. The suspect was booked for felony vandalism.

» At 11:05 a.m. Saturday, an officer investigated a fraud scheme commonly called a “pigeon drop.” A Spanish-speaking man was approached by the suspect, who told this story: A “coyote” was helping his mother cross into the United States from Mexico. The coyote demanded cash and would not take a check. The suspect asked the victim to help by cashing the check. The victim wanted to help and agreed to cash the check.

A third person (co-suspect) joined them, and also agreed to help. The suspect asked the victim and co-suspect for cash as a sign of “good faith,” so they wouldn’t cash the check and keep the money. The co-suspect agreed and handed over his wallet. The victim also handed over his wallet. The victim went into a store to cash the check and tore open the envelope, which contained only a bank deposit slip. Meanwhile, the two suspects fled with his wallet, which contained $1,200 cash. The victim described the suspects as a Hispanic male, 40 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall with several days beard growth, and a tall white male with green eyes.

» At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, an officer handled a disturbance at a residence in the 2100 block of Red Rose Lane. A neighbor reported frequent disturbances at the residence. Police determined that a 31-year-old woman had struck a male in the head with a vodka bottle. She was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

» At 2:45 p.m. Saturday, an officer was checking a transient encampment adjacent to the freeway at lower Milpas Street. He arrested a 42-year old woman for a probation violation. Hidden in her underclothes were two syringes containing suspected heroin. A drug possession charge was added.

» At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, an unknown suspect exposed himself to a woman near McKinley Elementary School, 350 Loma Alta Drive. The woman was walking up the paved walkway from Coronel Street to the school when she encountered a man exposing himself. The woman reported the incident to the school principal and called police. The woman described the suspect as a Hispanic male, mid-50s, 5 feet 4 inches tall with a thin build. He wore sunglasses, a green shirt, faded jeans, black shoes and had no facial hair. Anyone with information is urged to call Detective LaTorre at 805.897.2335.

» At midnight Tuesday, officers responded to a report of prowlers in the area of 600 E. Micheltorena St. A citizen reported two men with a flashlight lurking in a neighbor’s driveway checking a parked car. The citizen went outside to scare off the suspects and called 9-1-1. The suspects fled up Olive Street, but were detained by police at 500 E. Valerio St. The two men had a flashlight, gloves, a screwdriver and a Ford key from an unknown vehicle. The citizen made an in-field identification. A 23-year-old male was arrested for prowling and vehicle tampering, and an 18-year-old male was arrested for possession of burglary tools.

— Paul McCaffrey is a lieutenant with the Santa Barbara Police Department.


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