Santa Barbara police have arrested a man they say is responsible for a string of gang-related vandalism crimes on public and private property throughout the city.
Aaron Sepulveda Nevarez, 19, of Santa Barbara was taken into custody on Monday when he was stopped by an officer in the 400 block Anacapa Street after a gang-related disturbance, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood.
Based on four months of investigation documenting several incidents, officers arrested Nevarez for six counts of vandalism and participation in a criminal street gang.
Harwood said Nevarez admitted to committing the crimes, and to his membership in a street gang, during a subsequent interview.
Harwood said that Nevarez’s case began Sept. 22, 2012, when police Gang Suppression Team officers documented a gang-related spray paint graffiti vandalism to a local market. The graffiti included a reference to a local gang subset and the moniker of a gang member.
The case was assigned to Detective Gary Siegel for follow-up investigation, and gang team members and patrol officers documented several other incidents throughout the city that bore similarities to the September 22 incident.
Harwood said that writings, spray paintings, and etchings to both public and private property were documented, and some “were done in rival gang territory to challenge and intimidate others.”
Siegel was able to link Nevarez to the gang subset and moniker used, and found supporting evidence in Nevarez’s bedroom after a search warrant was issued at his home, Harwood said.
He was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail with a bail set at $110,000.