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Public’s Help Sought in Finding Vehicle-Theft Suspect Who Fled From Santa Barbara Deputies

Lev Daniel Zurita Click to view larger
Lev Daniel Zurita

Investigators were searching Friday for a Santa Barbara man who is suspected of vehicle theft, and also allegedly cut off an electronic-monitoring device, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies responded to a domestic-disturbance call at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday on the east side of the Vons supermarket in the Turnpike Shopping Center near Goleta, said Kelly Hoover, a sheriff’s spokeswoman.

When they arrived, they found Lev Daniel Zurita, 24, and Melany Perez, 24, of Oxnard engaged in an altercation, Hoover said.

“The couple appeared to be arguing over a moped, which deputies discovered was recently stolen out of the city of Santa Barbara,” Hoover said. “When deputies attempted to contact Zurita, he fled southbound on foot down Turnpike Road and across Hollister Avenue.”

Zurita then jumped a brick wall into the backyard of a home on the 200 block of Rosemead Street.

Perez also fled, Hoover said, but was quickly arrested in front of San Marcos High School.

Deputies, assisted by UCSB police as well as a K-9 unit and a county helicopter, established a perimeter around the Rosemead residence, and notified neighbors with a reverse notification call through the 9-1-1 system to shelter in place, Hoover said.

“Through the course of the investigation, deputies learned that Zurita was on probation, and had a GPS monitoring device, which was tracked to a residence in the 700 block of Quarantina Street in Santa Barbara,” Hoover said. “Deputies responded to the residence and discovered the GPS device had been cut off.”

Melany Perez Click to view larger
Melany Perez

Zurita eluded capture, and authorities were asking for the public’s help in finding him.

He is wanted for theft of a vehicle and resisting/obstructing/delaying a peace officer during the course of an investigation, Hoover said.

Anyone with on his whereabouts is asked to not approach him, but rather call 9-1-1. To leave an anonymous tip, call 805.681.4171.

Perez was booked into County Jail on charges of possessing stolen property and possessing a switchblade knife, Hoover said.

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.

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