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What Were Noozhawk’s 16 Most-Read Stories of 2016?

Carnage, killings, wildfires and court cases captivated readers during a tumultuous year

Three people were killed and a fourth suffered major injuries in a high-speed crash on Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara the night of Aug. 9.
Three people were killed and a fourth suffered major injuries in a high-speed crash on Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara the night of Aug. 9. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for Noozhawk’s 2016 Year in Pictures Gallery]

Annually the Noozhawk staff revisits the year’s most-read stories, which invariably are mainly sad, tragic and sobering. It’s safe to say 2016 was no different.

The year brought another mass murder to Santa Barbara County, along with three major wildfires, numerous fatal vehicle crashes and several serious court cases.

There was good news, too, of course, but that’s generally not what causes our readership to swell. As often as people tell us they want more “good news,” it’s the bad news that really brings them in.

Below are the 16 most-read Noozhawk stories of 2016. The pageviews listed are for a single story, usually the first day of reporting on a major event, but several of the stories prompted strong readership over several stories on multiple days.

3 People Killed in High-Speed Crash on Mesa in Santa Barbara (31,523 Pageviews)

Three people were killed and a fourth suffered major injuries in a violent, high-speed car crash Aug. 9 in Santa Barbara’s Mesa neighborhood.

Daniella Hearn, playing with son Lukas in an undated photo, had reached out to Robin Unander-La Berge for help with the toddler’s care. The Unander-La Berges have been granted permanent guardianship of Lukas. Click to view larger
Daniella Hearn, playing with son Lukas in an undated photo, had reached out to Robin Unander-La Berge for help with the toddler’s care. The Unander-La Berges have been granted permanent guardianship of Lukas. (Unander-La Berge family photo)

Friends and family mourned the young victims as polcie investigators looked into the fatal collision, in which the car hit a curb, a utility pole, a fire hydrant and a tree before coming to rest in the front yard of a Cliff Drive house.

Angel Luis Flores, 24; Daniella Diane Hearn, 19; and Benjamin Samuel Rubio, 28, were pronounced dead at the scene, while Michael James Mendoza, 29, the front-seat passenger in the car, survived the crash, authorities said.

Investigators determined that Flores, the driver, had a blood-alcohol content of .20 percent and the 1997 Lexus sedan was traveling an estimated 94 mph when it crashed, police Sgt. Riley Harwood said.

Hearn’s son was a year old when she died, and a Santa Barbara family was granted permanent guardianship of him in September.

Robin Unander-La Berge had developed a relationship with Hearn through Mother’s Helpers, a nonprofit organization that assists moms who need baby items, and had temporary guardianship of Lukas Hunt before the crash that killed Hearn.

A Noozhawk follow-up story identifying the victims was also ranked in the top 16, as the No. 6 most-read story of the year with 18,653 pageviews.

Dr. Henry Han, Wife and Daughter Murdered in Home Near Goleta (27,443 Pageviews)

A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s patrol car blocks access March 24 to a Greenhill Way home near Goleta, where Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han; his wife, Huijie “Jennie” Yu; and their 5-year-old daughter were found murdered. Click to view larger
A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s patrol car blocks access March 24 to a Greenhill Way home near Goleta, where Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han; his wife, Huijie “Jennie” Yu; and their 5-year-old daughter were found murdered. (Ryan Cullom / Noozhawk photo)

The bodies of Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han; his wife, Huijie “Jennie” Yu; and their 5-year-old daughter, Emily, were discovered in the family’s garage at 4640 Greenhill Way on March 23, and few details have been released since the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department arrested a suspect for the triple homicide.

Early on, officials said the killings did not appear to be a random attack, and sheriff’s deputies later arrested a man they say was a business associate of Han.

Han was well-known for his work in Chinese herbal medicine and western medicine, and he ran the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic with his wife.

Deputies discovered the bodies when they responded to a check-the-welfare call after Han had missed a business appointment.

Pierre Haobsh of Oceanside, who was 27 at the time, was arrested at gunpoint in San Diego County on March 25 and taken to the Santa Barbara County Jail. Authorities say he faces three counts of first-degree murder and special allegations that could lead to the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole if convicted.

The story of Haobsh’s arrest was the No. 4 story of the year, with 20,981 pageviews.

Haobsh is being represented by deputy public defenders Christine Voss and Mindi Boulet, and he pleaded not guilty at a May hearing.

Authorities have not disclosed what led investigators to Haobsh as a suspect, but Sheriff Bill Brown told a news conference that a search during his arrest found a loaded 9-mm gun and property investigators believe belonged to one of the victims.

The Sheriff’s Department later said all three members of the Han family had gunshots to the head, and were discovered bound in plastic wrap and duct tape in their home’s garage.

A preliminary hearing for Haobsh is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 10, during which more details about the case are expected to be released.

Sherpa Fire Chars Nearly 7,500 Acres, Threatens Structures Along Gaviota Coast (25,299 Pageviews)

Firefighters shelter behind an engine as flames from the Sherpa Fire approach Calle Real west of Goleta the night of June 16. Click to view larger
Firefighters shelter behind an engine as flames from the Sherpa Fire approach Calle Real west of Goleta the night of June 16. (Mike Eliason / Santa Barbara County Fire Department photo)

The 7,474-acre wildfire grew quickly after starting June 15 near the top of Refugio Canyon, and threatened neighborhoods and campgrounds on the Gaviota coast.

The wildfire was dubbed the Sherpa Fire because it started at Rancho La Scherpa, a Christian conference center high up on Refugio Road. The U.S. Forest Service decided to go with the different spelling.

Propelled by sundowner winds, the fire grew quickly overnight, and caused temporary closures of Highway 101 along the Gaviota coast.

Noozhawk readers came back to the website for updates on the fire as it grew and threatened more structures, and a follow-up story had 19,941 page views.

The blaze threatened the Las Flores Canyon oil and gas processing facility, which has been idle since the Refugio oil leak, and caused mandatory evacuations for El Capitán and Refugio state beaches, El Capitan Ranch and Ocean Mesa at El Capitán.

There were also mandatory evacuations and evacuation warnings issued for many residential areas, including El Capitán, Refugio and Las Flores canyons, and Venadito Canyon Road.

The Forest Service announced 100-percent containment of the fire July 12, but still has not determined a cause, spokesman Andrew Madsen said last week.

It was a busy year for fires and some didn't make the list of most-read stories, including the Glass Fire, which burned down the Zaca Lake Lodge; the 18-acre Bar Fire, which was caused by a bird hitting power lines near the Sherpa Fire burn area; and the several Vandenberg Air Force Base vegetation fires that delayed rocket launches.

Suspect Arrested in ‘Diabolical’ Murders of Doctor and Family (20,981 Pageviews)

Pierre Haobsh Click to view larger
Pierre Haobsh (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

Pierre Haobsh was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder after Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies discovered the bodies of the Han family in their home near Goleta on March 23.

The bodies of Dr. Weidong “Henry” Han; his wife, Huijie “Jennie” Yu, and their 5-year-old daughter, Emily, were found dead with gunshot wounds in the family’s garage.

Han ran the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic with his wife, and Sheriff Bill Brown said Haobsh was a business associate of Han’s, although authorities have not disclosed what led investigators to focus in on him as a suspect.

Haobsh, who lives in Oceanside, pleaded not guilty to all charges at a May court hearing. A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 10.

Ex-Boyfriend Arrested in Slaying of Dos Pueblos Graduate Emily Fox (18,242 Pageviews)

Hundreds of people attended a memorial for Emily Fox at Dos Pueblos High School’s Performing Arts Center. Click to view larger
Hundreds of people attended a memorial for Emily Fox at Dos Pueblos High School’s Performing Arts Center. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk file photo)

Dos Pueblos High School graduate Emily Fox was killed in an apparent double homicide in the San Fernando Valley in early 2016, and Los Angeles police detectives arrested an ex-boyfriend for the crime.

Emily Anna Fox, 22, of Los Angeles, and Jerrad Cardae Scott, 24, of La Mesa, were found dead inside a Winnetka apartment after officers responded to the report of an assault with a deadly weapon.

Brian Gonzalez
Brian Gonzalez (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

Fox graduated from Dos Pueblos in 2011 and was a student at CSU Northridge at the time of her death.

Authorities said Fox had called 9-1-1 to report her ex-boyfriend was at her home and armed with a gun.

Brian Anthony Gonzales, 24, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and special allegations of murder during the commission of a kidnapping and multiple murders, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Public information officer Sarah Ardalani said Gonzales was arraigned Feb. 26, and he pleaded not guilty to the charges. A preliminary hearing is scheduled in the Van Nuys Courthouse on Jan. 18, she said.

Hundreds of people attended a memorial service for Fox at Dos Pueblos High’s Performing Arts Center to remember the young woman beloved by her family and friends and known as a champion golfer and gifted photographer.

She was one semester away from finishing her degree in sociology at CSUN.

Montecito Man Arrested in Hit-Run Crash That Severely Injured Pedestrian (17,011 Pageviews)

Drew Daly Click to view larger
Drew Daly (Facebook photo)

Drew Daly, a 23-year-old Santa Barbara City College student, was hit by a vehicle on Cabrillo Boulevard in the early hours of Dec. 2 and lay in the street for nearly two hours before a passerby discovered him. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

Daly’s older sister, Leah, told Noozhawk that Daly is studying public health at SBCC and also works at Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta. About two weeks after the collision, she said Daly had woken up from his coma.

“He is awake, focusing his eyes, he can recognize people and got his breathing tube out,” Leah Daly said. “He is working with physical therapy, speech therapy and making progress every day.

“He is still weak, but doing better than anyone would have expected.”

Police issued a call for the public’s assistance in finding the hit-and-run driver, and released surveillance footage of a possibly involved vehicle.

Isaac Vincent Vega Click to view larger
Isaac Vincent Vega (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

Isaac Vincent Vega, 21, was arrested at his Montecito home and his vehicle was impounded, police said.

Vega was charged with felony driving under the influence and hit-and-run causing great bodily injury, specifically a coma, while out on bail on an open felony case, prosecutor Wes Meyer said.

At the time of his arrest, Vega was out on bail for an alleged Vons supermarket robbery and now is in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail facing a total of $600,000 bail.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Rey Fire Burns 32,606 acres in Santa Barbara Backcountry (16,128 Pageviews)

The Rey Fire started along Paradise Road and burned more than 30,000 acres of Santa Barbara County backcountry. Click to view larger
The Rey Fire started along Paradise Road and burned more than 30,000 acres of Santa Barbara County backcountry. (Diego Topete / Noozhawk photo)

The fast-growing Rey Fire burned 32,606 acres of Los Padres National Forest land in the Santa Barbara County backcountry after igniting along Paradise Road in the Upper Santa Ynez River area.

The fire started Aug. 18 near Rancho San Fernando Rey and the White Rock Picnic Area, and led to evacuations of nearby campgrounds, residents and Los Prietos Boys Camp.

The U.S. Forest Service still hasn’t determined a cause of the fire, spokesman Andrew Madsen said last week. Shortly after the blaze began, officials noted that a broken tree limb brought down a power line along Paradise Road just before the fire started.

Huge smoke plumes filled the sky, easily seen from the South Coast and the Santa Ynez Valley, and the ominous exhibition made the fire appear much closer to populated areas than it was.

It also made Noozhawk readers keep checking up on the fire’s progress, with 15,195 pageviews for the Day 2 story.

Two firefighters reportedly suffered minor injuries at the fire, and one firefighter was airlifted from the Pendola Campground firefighting field base for a heat-related illness, authorities said.

Several backcountry burn areas were temporarily closed to the public during and after the wildfire.

Motorcyclist Killed, Driver Arrested on DUI Charges in Orcutt Crash (13,272 Pageviews)

Motorcyclist Mario Coria-Gonzalez of Santa Maria was killed July 17 in a crash on Santa Maria Way in Orcutt. Click to view larger
Motorcyclist Mario Coria-Gonzalez of Santa Maria was killed July 17 in a crash on Santa Maria Way in Orcutt. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A Santa Maria motorcyclist was killed July 17 in Orcutt in a collision with a driver who was suspected to be under the influence, authorities said.

Mario Coria-Gonzalez, 22, was declared dead at the scene, and the SUV driver, 31-year-old Garrett Alford of Orcutt, was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated causing injury or death.

Alford was charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, and driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08, with an alleged BAC of .21 at the time of the collision.

He appeared in court Tuesday, out of custody, and was ordered to wear an electronic alcohol monitor and return to court Jan. 18 for a preliminary hearing setting.

The crash between Gonzalez, on a motorcycle, and the SUV happened in the 3400 block of Santa Maria Way when the SUV turned left toward an apartment complex driveway, the California Highway Patrol said.

The motorcycle hit the front passenger door of the SUV, the CHP said.

Coria-Gonzalez’s family described him as a budding chef, and said he is survived by his 4-year-old son, Aiden Coria; girlfriend Michelle Arriaga and her daughter, Sophia; his mother and stepfather, Feliciana and Valentin DeLaCruz; his father, Mario Coria; and brothers Sergio and Willy.

Woman Jumps From Moving Car in Carpinteria (12,070 Pageviews)

A woman in her early 20s suffered major injuries on April 13 after jumping out of a moving car on Highway 101 near Padaro Lane in Carpinteria. Click to view larger
A woman in her early 20s suffered major injuries on April 13 after jumping out of a moving car on Highway 101 near Padaro Lane in Carpinteria. (Diego Topete / Noozhawk photo)

A woman in her early 20s suffered major injuries on April 13 when she jumped out of a moving car on Highway 101 near Padaro Lane in Carpinteria.

Fire engines were dispatched to the scene at 6:32 p.m. for a traffic incident that turned out to be a patient in the left lane, according to Grace Donnelly, a public information officer with the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District.

She said it appeared the woman, whose name was not released, “exited the passenger side of the vehicle” while it was traveling 65 mph in the left lane.

The vehicle behind that car had slowed down in anticipation — the driver must have seen something, Donnelly said — and avoided hitting the woman, as did the car in the right lane.

Both of those following vehicles stopped, thereby blocking both lanes of traffic so the woman wasn’t hit by any vehicle.

“Those cars basically saved her life by stopping, and stopping traffic on the highway,” Donnelly said.

The woman was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, according to the California Highway Patrol, which investigated the incident.

What prompted the woman to leap from the vehicle was never disclosed.

Car Crashes Into Trader Joe’s, Injuring 4 People (11,890 Pageviews)

Four people were injured, one seriously, Oct. 8 when an elderly driver plowed into the Trader Joe’s market in Goleta. Click to view larger
Four people were injured, one seriously, Oct. 8 when an elderly driver plowed into the Trader Joe’s market in Goleta. (Mike McGee / Noozhawk photo)

Four people were injured, one seriously, on Oct. 8 when an elderly driver plowed into the Trader Joe’s market in Goleta.

Emergency personnel responded to the store at 5767 Calle Real at 9:48 a.m., and found that a Toyota Prius had driven into the building, according to Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni.

One shopper inside the store suffered major injuries and was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. His name and details on his injuries were not released.

Two children in the store had minor injuries and were checked at the scene, but not taken to the hospital.

The driver, an 85-year-old man, had minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

It appeared that the driver was in the process of parking when he suddenly accelerated into the front entrance of the store, according to Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Indications were that the driver hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal.

Woman’s Body Found at Mountain-Top Shooting Range (11,512 Pageviews)

The body of Sarah Lynn Hambarzumjan-Calhoun, 29, of Santa Barbara was found Oct. 22 at the “Glass Factory” shooting range in the mountains above Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
The body of Sarah Lynn Hambarzumjan-Calhoun, 29, of Santa Barbara was found Oct. 22 at the “Glass Factory” shooting range in the mountains above Santa Barbara. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

The body of a 29-year-old Santa Barbara woman was found Oct. 22 at a shooting range in the mountains above Santa Barbara.

Sarah Lynn Hambarzumjan-Calhoun was discovered by a passerby at about 9:50 a.m. at the “Glass Factory” shooting range, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Hambarzumjan-Calhoun died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.

The range, which was closed at the time due to fire restrictions, is located along East Camino Cielo in Los Padres National Forest.

Victims Give Statements in Robert Goldman Rape Case (11,273 Pageviews)

Two women gave emotional testimony in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Sept. 12 in the case of a 28-year-old Santa Barbara man accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.

Robert Harold “Bob” Goldman
Robert Harold “Bob” Goldman (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

The women — identified in court as Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 2 — made their victim-impact statements at a pre-sentencing hearing for Robert Harold “Bob” Goldman.

Jane Doe No. 1, the victim in the criminal case against Goldman, is a Los Angeles resident in her late 20s, according to authorities.

She told investigators that she had been out dining and drinking with friends the previous evening, and became intoxicated. In the early morning hours, she and a friend went to a residence in the 200 block of Santa Barbara Street.

Other people were there, including Goldman, who was an acquaintance of Doe, according to police.

The woman described waking up on the couch where she fell asleep the night before, with Goldman on top of her.

Jane Doe No. 2 is a woman in her 20s who previously worked with Goldman at Graphiq, a Summerland data visualization company, and considered Goldman a friend.

She testified that in 2015, she was at a wine bar with Goldman and opened up about how she was coping with losing both her parents to cancer.

“This is the last thing I remember before I was found naked in the street, draped in an item of clothing a kind homeless person had placed over my body,” she said.

“I was found in a state of utter incoherence, incapable of providing my name or birth date.”

Her keys, clothing and phone were in Goldman’s car, found by police, she said, adding that he told authorities the pair had consensual sex the night before.

She said she decided not to pursue criminal charges and moved to San Francisco.

Goldman initially was charged with rape of an unconscious or asleep person and rape while a person was prevented from resisting by an intoxicating or anesthetic substance.

Under a plea agreement, he pleaded no contest to a single count of assault with force likely to produce bodily injury. He was sentenced Dec. 5 to 365 days in Santa Barbara County Jail, but is eligible to serve that in the jail’s electronic-monitoring program.

Goldman was not required to register as a sex offender.

Ventura Firefighter Killed in Crash Near Lompoc (11,201 Pageviews)

Ryan Osler, a Ventura County firefighter, was killed on Sept. 21 when the water tender in which he was riding crashed near Lompoc on its way to the Canyon Fire at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Click to view larger
Ryan Osler, a Ventura County firefighter, was killed on Sept. 21 when the water tender in which he was riding crashed near Lompoc on its way to the Canyon Fire at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Janene Scully / Noozhwk photo)

Ryan Osler, a firefighter with the Ventura County Fire Department, was killed Sept. 21 when the water tender in which he was riding crashed near Lompoc on its way to a fire at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The rollover crash occurred just before 6:30 a.m. on Highway 246 near the Purisima Road roundabout, at Cebada Canyon west of La Purisima Golf Course.

First responders found the water tender on its passenger side, with one victim trapped inside and another outside the vehicle.

Authorities said Osler, the passenger, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The truck’s driver, 27-year-old Adam Price, complained of moderate injuries.

Foggy conditions were reported in the Lompoc Valley the morning of the crash.

The water tender was full at the time of the crash as the crew was providing support to the force battling the 12,500-acre Canyon Fire on south Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Osler, who worked out of VCFD’s Moorpark Station 42, had been with the fire agency for 18 years, officials said.

Thousands of mourners gathered Oct. 3 at a Westlake Village church to say goodbye to Osler, the first Ventura County firefighter in 25 years to die in the line of duty.

Osler is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two children, Amanda, 13, and Brandon, 11.

The California Highway Patrol said the investigation into what caused the water tender to tip over likely will last into early 2017.

Fatal Motorcycle Crash on Highway 101 in Montecito (11,200 Pageviews)

David Joseph Irwin, 27, of Norco, was killed on July 11 in a three-vehicle collision on southbound Highway 101 in Montecito. Click to view larger
David Joseph Irwin, 27, of Norco, was killed on July 11 in a three-vehicle collision on southbound Highway 101 in Montecito. (Urban Hikers / Noozhawk photo)

A 27-year-old motorcyclist was killed on July 11 in a three-vehicle crash on southbound Highway 101 in Montecito.

David Joseph Irwin suffered major injuries in the crash, which occurred at about 3:20 p.m. near the southbound Olive Mill Road exit, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Norco resident was treated at the scene by paramedics, then transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Irwin was riding a 2015 Yamaha motorcycle, the CHP said. The other two motorists involved were Patrick Cockrill, 56, of Long Beach, who was driving a Chevrolet truck, and Eric Davis, 36, of Visalia, who was driving a Kenworth box truck, the CHP said.

The wreck occurred just as the afternoon commute was getting started, backing up freeway traffic for hours and clogging surface streets through Montecito.

Bernie Sanders Brings Upstart Campaign to Santa Barbara County (10,355 Pageviews)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his campaign to Santa Barbara County on May 28, 10 days before California’s presidential primary election, holding rallies in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. Click to view larger
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his campaign to Santa Barbara County on May 28, 10 days before California’s presidential primary election, holding rallies in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his upstart campaign to Santa Barbara County on May 28, 10 days before California’s presidential primary election.

The “Bern-storming” visit included stops in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria before thousands of supporters, most of whom queued up hours ahead of time to see him.

At each rally — a morning stop at Santa Barbara City College’s West Campus and an afternoon visit to Santa Maria High School — Sanders did not disappoint his enthusiastic fans.

Authorities estimate the crowds topped 6,000 at each venue.

“In my view, a great nation is judged not by how many billionaires it has or by how many nuclear weapons it has,” Sanders said under gray skies at SBCC.

“It is treated by how it responds to the needs of the weakest and most vulnerable in that country.”

In addition to his primary issue of wealth inequality, Sanders discussed the need for an expanded, less expensive education system; minimum wage increases and equal pay for women; criminal justice reform; stronger climate change laws; a more compassionate approach to immigration; and an end to the War on Drugs.

The Vermont senator’s message about the effects of wealth inequality and his calls for a political revolution that he says is vital to bringing about transformative change appeared to resonate in the North County, as well.

At the time, Sanders was still looking to pull off a long-shot bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A rally two days earlier at Ventura College drew nearly 10,000 people, according to the Ventura County Star.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, also was campaigning in Southern California.

Sanders criticized the billionaire businessman, who went on to win the presidency, for what he said are dangerous and divisive attitudes, reiterating the outcomes of polls showing him leading the Republican by wider margins than Clinton, who he said he hoped would join him in progressive stances like a call for an end to energy industry fracking.

Man Accused of Hiding Camera in Ice Cream Shop Bathroom (10,233 Pageviews)

A 48-year-old man was arrested March 11 for allegedly hiding a camera disguised as an electrical outlet in the restroom of a Santa Barbara ice cream parlor.

Jason John Hanrahan Click to view larger
Jason John Hanrahan (Santa Barbara County Jail photo)

Jason John Hanrahan of Santa Barbara was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on a misdemeanor charge after placing a hidden camera in the bathroom at McConnell’s Ice Cream at 728 State St., according to Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood.

He said the previous week, an employee had noticed the suspect enter the shop, go to the bathroom, and leave without making purchases.

The employee checked the bathroom, and noticed an outlet she’d never seen before.

The suspect came back an hour later and removed the outlet, police said, and the manager told employees to call police if the suspect was seen again.

At about 6:30 p.m. on March 15, the same employee saw the suspect enter the shop, head straight to the bathroom and leave without purchasing anything, Harwood said.

The electrical outlet was back, and she called police.

“Hanrahan was stopped outside and upon being searched was found to be in possession of tools, adhesive and an electrical outlet-style camera housing similar to that recovered inside of the business’s restroom,” Harwood said.

Hanrahan was arrested for suspicion of installing a hidden camera inside of a restroom and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $2,500.

He pleaded guilty to one count of electronic peeping on July 13, according to the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced to 10 days in County Jail and three years of informal probation, and fined $750.

Hanrahan also was ordered into counseling, subject to search and seizure, barred from owning any video-capable devices, including smart phones, and ordered to stay away from McConnell’s.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Noozhawk managing editor 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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