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Santa Barbara Landlord Dario Pini Arrested on Burglary Charges

Controversial property owner accused of stealing construction materials from a downtown site slated to be demolished

Notorious Santa Barbara landlord Dario Pini was arrested on burglary charges early Friday after allegedly stealing construction materials from a downtown property slated to be demolished.

Dario Pini
Dario Pini

A warrant had been issued for Pini’s arrest, and he was taken into custody in connection with a burglary that occurred earlier this week when neighbors reported he was seen taking copper tubing, pipe fittings and coaxial cable from a nearby property, according to Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood, a department spokesman.

Renovation work had begun at the 316 W. Carrillo St. site, which was surrounded by chain-link fencing. Harwood said several neighbors had contacted the property owner Sunday, reporting that Pini had been seen twice on the property.

“One of the witnesses confronted Pini as he was walking off of the property with items taken from the residence,” Harwood said.

Pini declared to the witness that he had permission to be there, but dropped the items as he left the scene when the witness threatened to call the police, Harwood said.

Copper tubing, water heater pipe fittings and coaxial cable are some of the items that Pini allegedly took from the residence, and an investigation confirmed that Pini did not have permission to be on the property, Harwood said.

“Although witnesses claimed to know Pini by sight, his identity as the suspect was confirmed with a photo lineup,” Harwood said.

On Thursday, a warrant was obtained for Pini’s arrest, and he was picked up after officers spotted him on Chapala Street while responding to an unrelated call at 3:10 a.m. Friday.

He was taken to Santa Barbara County Jail, where he was booked on the burglary warrant. Bail was set at $20,000.

Pini remained in custody Friday afternoon, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover, and could not be reached for comment.

Pini owns hundred of properties in Santa Barbara and elsewhere in the county, and has had a decades-long antagonistic relationship with city building enforcement officials.

Most recently, Santa Barbara City Council members sided with neighbors of one of his properties and refused to give him permission to build a rental complex until he resolves violations listed in a city lawsuit.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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