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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 9:09 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 

Deputies Converge on Montecito Residence for Kidnapping Scam

Callers claimed family members were being held hostage and demanded ransom, but all individuals apparently safe

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies converged on a Montecito residence Saturday afternoon for what turned out to be a kidnapping scam. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies converged on a Montecito residence Saturday afternoon for what turned out to be a kidnapping scam. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

Deputies converged on a Montecito residence Saturday afternoon for what turned out to be a kidnapping scam, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

At about 4:20 p.m., deputies were dispatched to the 1900 block of Tollis Avenue, between Buena Vista and Lilac drives north of East Valley Road, for a possible hostage situation, sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelley Hoover said.

She said the U.S. Embassy in Paris had reported that a Montecito woman visiting family in France had been contacted by an unknown caller claiming that her husband and two children were being held hostage.

According to Hoover, the call with a ransom demand apparently came from her husband’s cell phone.

“The wife called the U.S. Embassy in France, which then contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office,” she said.

The sheriff’s SWAT team was deployed to the residence, Hoover said, and neighborhood streets were blocked off.

At the same time, she said, the husband received a similar call reporting that his wife was being held hostage for ransom.

“During his attempt to get to the bank to wire money to the caller, he came into contact with a Santa Barbara police officer who then contacted the Sheriff’s Office,” Hoover said.

“It was soon determined that all the family members were accounted for, and that the call was an attempt to extort money from the family.”

The couple’s identities were not released.

The case is under investigation by the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Division.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Department at 805.681.415. Call 805.681.4171 to leave an anonymous tip.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

SWAT Team members mobilized Saturday for what turned out to be a kidnapping scam at a home on Tollis Avenue in Montecito. Click to view larger
SWAT Team members mobilized Saturday for what turned out to be a kidnapping scam at a home on Tollis Avenue in Montecito. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

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