Saturday, October 20 , 2018, 4:11 am | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

Bill Macfadyen: After Successful Holdup, Bank Robber Ends It All in a Bathroom

NoozWeek’s Top 5 encounters high-density intensity over a housing plan, looks for clues with just bare bones to go on, logs one more Montecito train death, and puts out another brush fire

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So a suspect robs a bank and then victimizes a small business. Classy. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

Viva la Fiesta!

Before we get to my favorite time of the year in Santa Barbara, a crowd of 122,949 readers paraded through the pages of Noozhawk this past week, according to our Google Analytics.

This is my take on your Top 5 stories. If it reads like an opinion column, that’s because it is.

1. Suspected Gunman in Goleta Bank Robbery Kills Self in Nearby Hair Salon

In one of the odder bank heists in memory, a robber who briefly got away with it was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound as Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies closed in on him in Goleta. The deputies had been tipped off by a suspicious employee of a nearby business where the man had holed up.

According to sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, the suspect — identified as 41-year-old Keith David Goodwin, with ties to Fresno and San Francisco — entered the Rabobank branch at 5956 Calle Real, just east of North Fairview Avenue, about 10:45 a.m. July 20.

She said he handed the bank teller a note demanding cash, made threatening remarks and flashed a handgun. There were no injuries in the holdup, and the suspect apparently got what he came for, leaving with an undisclosed amount of money.

It must have been the high point of his day.

The man left the bank, and got himself over to a hair salon at 25 Carlo Drive, a half-mile to the west, on the other side of Fairview Shopping Center.

Hoover said an employee of The Girls salon called 9-1-1 about 12:25 p.m. to report that the suspect may have entered the establishment and changed clothes. Deputies swarmed the neighborhood and evacuated the two-story, gray, clapboard building of small business suites.

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Final withdrawal. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department photo)

With the help of a California Highway Patrol K-9 team, Hoover said, deputies entered the salon.

“When they opened the bathroom door, they located a deceased male with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” she said.

A sedan believed to have belonged to the dead man was found across the street in the parking lot that Gold’s Gym shares with our partner, client and vendor, Impulse Advanced Communications, at 6144 Calle Real.

The investigation is ongoing, and the FBI is assisting.

There were reports that Goodwin was a bank robber known as the “Faux Badge Bandit,” but Hoover told Noozhawk that had not been confirmed.

The Faux Badge Bandit is suspected in four holdups since May 31, and the FBI says he may be impersonating a police officer — complete with “a seven-point badge on his hip along with a shoulder holster.”

2. Proposed 52-Unit Apartment Project Enrages Downtown Santa Barbara Neighbors

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Not in my back yard, you hear me? (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

If you’re like me, you saw the word “enrages” and conjured up an image of rioting housing protesters, their faces wrapped in scarves to conceal their identities while they hurled epithets, rocks and Molotov cocktails at the Santa Barbara Planning Commission.

What I got was a large crowd of clearly upset, definitely indignant but mostly respectful neighbors — including a guy holding a baby! At least there was no sign of Anna Marie Gott this one time.

Aside from our melodramatic introduction, the July 19 Planning Commission meeting was not terribly unusual. A developer proposed a high-density housing project. The neighbors don’t want it. Welcome to Santa Barbara.

By its description alone, the proposal by Santa Barbara-based Barranca Enterprises Inc., and its architects, DesignARC, just sounds immense. To start, it would gang together eight parcels in the 200 block of East Anapamu Street, running along Garden Street down to East Figueroa Street.

Six largely nondescript structures would be torn down, but two historically significant Queen Anne Free Classic-style cottages would be relocated to the Garden Street side of the property.

The new 52-unit, four-story rental complex would include two dozen one-bedroom apartments, 22 two-bedroom units and six three-bedroom apartments, along with 6,000 square feet of commercial space.

The project also proposes 72 parking spaces, 60 of which would be in the kind of automated stacked parking contraption that seems to be faddishly popular right now.

Speaking on behalf of Barranca Enterprises was Greg Reitz, founder and principal of REthink Development.

“This site is ideal to live without a car,” he said, noting its proximity to State Street, three blocks away, and Anapamu Street’s bus routes.

Many of the opponents were having none of that, although some appeared to have missed the workforce housing in-fill vs. sprawl debate that we had in the 1990s and early aughts.

“You are the guardians of our community,” Natalia Govoni told the commissioners. “The mass, size, bulk and scale is out of character with this community.

“Today we are asking you to draw a line right here and right now. End the sprawl and destruction of our community. Stop being sellouts and deny this project.”

Donny Brubaker, the guy with the baby, said the project will wreck his neighborhood.

“It is ludicrous for anyone to suggest that the project can maintain the character of the neighborhood — especially those who don’t already live in the neighborhood,” he said, perhaps unintentionally revealing more motivation than intended.

Because of the lengthy list of speakers, the commission ran out of time and will resume the meeting on Aug. 9. Maybe between now and then, we can all tone down the “rage.”

3. Human Remains Discovered in Ocean Near Isla Vista Beach

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No easy answers in Isla Vista. (Diego Topete / Noozhawk photo)

A jarring discovery in the surf below Isla Vista’s Camino Pescadero Park gave brief hope that remains had been found of one of two still-missing victims of the deadly Jan. 9 Montecito flash flooding and debris flows.

As improbable as that conclusion may have been, the county Coroner’s Bureau appeared to rule out the possibility.

But let’s take this from the top.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said beachgoers called 9-1-1 around 5:45 p.m. July 24 to report a partial skeleton bobbing in the water near the beach access stairs below the park. Authorities responded and collected a skeletal head and torso.

The morning of July 26, a femur, fibula and tibia washed up at Campus Point.

Human skeletons are not a regular beachcombing find, and how and why these bones came to be where they were is a real mystery.

Speculation began immediately that the skeleton might be that of Jack Cantin, a 17-year-old Santa Barbara High School junior and Eagle Scout who was one of 23 Montecito residents killed that fateful winter morning.

Jack and his dad, Dave, were swept to their deaths from their home on Montecito Creek at what is now known as Devil’s Triangle, the intersection of Hot Springs and Olive Mill roads across from Casa Dorinda.

He and 2-year-old Lydia Sutthithepa, who lived in Old Spanish Town about a quarter-mile up the creek, vanished in the violence of the night; their bodies were never found.

Both families were in the “voluntary” evacuation zone in the run-up to the deadliest day in Santa Barbara County history.

Jack’s mom, Kim, somehow survived in a corner of their house that was washed downstream. Miraculously, his younger sister, Lauren, was pulled alive from the muddy rubble several hours later.

Lydia’s dad, Pinit; 6-year-old brother Pasta; and her grandfather, Richard Taylor, also perished in the deluge. Her mom and grandmother were working the overnight shift at the Montecito Vons at the time.

More than one victim from the “voluntary” evacuation zone ended up on Butterfly Beach so it was not inconceivable that Jack might have been carried to the ocean, as well. Drifting west to Isla Vista might have been a stretch, and after all this time, but stranger things have happened.

Authorities had the same thought, and immediately set to work. After further investigation, they concluded the bones were likely not Jack’s.

“Based on the preliminary dental record comparisons, the decedent does not appear to be the missing 17-year-old victim from the 1/9 debris flow disaster,” Hoover said July 26.

The Coroner’s Bureau has not yet identified the badly decomposed remains, and Hoover said the agency is working with the state Department of Justice to compare DNA samples of area missing persons records.

4. Authorities Release Name of Pedestrian Killed by Train in Montecito

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We see this more than we want to. This death may have been accidental, but it’s no less tragic. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

A 50-year-old Santa Barbara man was struck and killed as he walked along the railroad tracks in Montecito early on July 19. This time the death was ruled accidental.

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said the victim, Rogelio Perez, was walking south on the tracks about 6:45 a.m. when he was hit by a northbound Amtrak passenger train near Olive Mill Road.

Authorities say the train’s engineer sounded the horn and applied the brakes, but was unable to stop in time.

Perez was declared dead at the scene.

“His death is being ruled as an accident,” Hoover said.

The investigation shut down the Union Pacific railroad tracks for several hours afterward.

5. 2-Alarm Vegetation Fire Blackens Some 110 Acres Near Buellton; 35% Contained

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Seeing red at the Windmill Fire west of Buellton. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

A brush fire broke out in the Bobcat Springs area west of Buellton the afternoon of July 20, but firefighters were able to quickly blunt the blaze’s progress and keep it away from nearby residences.

Santa Barbara County fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said the Windmill Fire ignited a little after 2 p.m. in the 1000 block of Highway 246, about two miles west of Highway 101.

The fire eventually grew to about 110 acres, but was declared fully contained on July 23.

Investigators determined it was caused by a tractor operating in an agricultural field.

“It is important for Santa Barbara County residents to responsibly maintain their vehicles and farm equipment to help prevent wildfires,” Zaniboni said.

Meanwhile, authorities say the 200-acre Cruces Fire from last week’s Best of Bill column also was determined to have been caused by a vehicle, in that case a car driving north on Highway 1. That fire was fully contained July 22.

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We’re Hiring

As mentioned previously, Noozhawk business development vice president Kim Clark is searching for an experienced, detail-oriented marketing assistant to join the sales team. Kim can be contacted at [email protected].

                                                                 •        •        •

Last Year on Noozhawk

What was our most-read story this time last year? 2 Shark Attacks Reported Along Santa Barbara County’s South Coast.

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Bill Macfadyen’s Story of the Week

While the City of Santa Barbara chases a straw man, science tackles the actual problem: Ocean Cleanup Designs Giant Pac-Man System to Gobble Up World’s Plastic Waste Problem.

                                                                 •        •        •

Best of Bill’s Instagram

My Instagram feed went along for the ride with Pedal The Pacific during the team’s visit to Santa Barbara this past week, but there will be much more to come as I follow their fight against #sextrafficking.

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Watch It

For Shark Week, I’m throwing it back to the time Shaq and a shark faced off in a cage match. Spoiler alert: Both Shaquile O’Neal and the shark were fine.

(Floater News video)

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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at [email protected], follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk and Instagram: @bill.macfadyen, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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