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Man Jailed After Mistaken Attempt to Detain Amber Alert Suspect Near Los Alamos

An Oak View man’s mistaken attempt to detain an Amber Alert suspect at gunpoint near Los Alamos landed him in jail on Thursday afternoon, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

The incident began shortly before 1 p.m. with a report of an attempted car-jacking on Cat Canyon Road, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

“The reporting party, who was driving on Cat Canyon, observed a male subject with a gun attempt to stop the driver of a white van who was also driving on Cat Canyon.,” Hoover said. “The driver of the van sped off, and the suspect got into his black jeep and pursued after the white van.”

Deputies responded and, with the help of a county helicopter, eventually tracked down the suspect, William Stevens, 66, on ranch property in the 6700 block of Cat Canyon Road, Hoover said.

Stevens told deputies that he was in the San Luis Obispo area when he received the Amber Alert text notification on his phone regarding a child abduction, Hoover said.

“The suspect believed the orange van described in the Amber Alert was on Cat Canyon Road,” Hoover said. “ When he saw the white van, he believed it was the suspect vehicle and attempted to stop it while holding his replica handgun (BB gun) in his hand.”

Stevens lost sight of the van, Hoover said, and later drove onto the ranch property looking for it.

“During that time, a school bus dropping off a child who lived on the property pulled into the driveway,” Hoover said. “Stevens approached the bus holding the replica handgun and told the driver there was a hostage situation at the residence, and instructed the school bus driver to block the driveway with the bus. The bus driver did as instructed.”

After deputies located Stevens and heard his story, they searched the property but did not find the white van, Hoover said, adding that they determined there was no emergency.

“Deputies did locate the driver of the white van nearby who lived in the area and who was a little shaken but unharmed,” Hoover said.

Stevens was arrested and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of trespassing, brandishing a weapon and false imprisonment, Hoover said.

Prior to the incident and Stevens' arrest, the Amber Alert had been canceled, 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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