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Chase, Search Lead to Arrest of Car-Theft Suspect

A man suspected of auto theft was arrested near Santa Maria Tuesday after leading Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies on a pursuit that ended in a residential neighborhood.

Deputies attempted to pull over a vehicle that was reported stolen at about 10:15 a.m. on Stowell Road, but the driver ran several stop signs to avoid authorities, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said.

Authorities called off the pursuit due to public-safety concerns, but continued to search the area for the vehicle and driver.

They found the vehicle about 15 minutes later on the 3300 block of Willowood Drive in Tanglewood, and a neighbor reported seeing the suspect go into the backyard of a residence on Briarwood Road, Hoover said.

Deputies brought in a K-9 Unit and a California Highway Patrol helicopter to help with the search.

After getting the homeowner’s permission to search the backyard, deputies found the suspect hiding in a trailer.

Pedro Valdovinos, 28, of Santa Maria was arrested on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle and evading law enforcement.

He was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $25,000.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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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