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Tuesday, January 15 , 2019, 8:50 pm | Overcast 56º


Toll from Weekend Break-ins Raised to 14 Businesses in Santa Barbara

Two teens have been charged in the case, and police are seeking a third suspect in the spree that caused thousands of dollars in damage

Santa Barbara police say more businesses than originally reported were affected by a string of overnight break-ins last weekend, and a third suspect in the case remained at large.

The crime spree involved 14 businesses — not 11 — and one vehicle vandalized outside Ayers Repairs at 1301 Chapala St., according to police Sgt. Riley Harwood.

He told Noozhawk police were still seeking a third suspect after apprehending the two local teenagers authorities believe to be responsible for the nearly four-hour burglary spree that caused thousands of dollars in damage to businesses.

The two suspects, whose names were not released because they are minors, were booked into the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall.

Because the investigation was ongoing, Harwood couldn’t share many details this week, but he did say the teens — ages 16 and 17 — were from Santa Barbara and did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they carried out a series of crimes that began at 12:20 a.m. last Friday night.

Harwood said estimates showed $20,000 in property damage and $13,000 in losses, although police recovered about $8,000 worth of stolen merchandise.

Police believe the break-ins began on the Westside at La Bella Rosa Bakery, 1411 San Andres St.

From there, suspects moved downtown, Harwood said, using a brick or rock to break some windows and likely traveling on foot.

Police weren’t sure in what order the break-ins occurred, since some of the businesses didn’t have active alarm systems, he said. An alarm alerted officers to the break-ins about 2:45 a.m.

Affected businesses included Santa Barbara Public Market, 38 W. Victoria St., Mobil Gas, 402 W. Mission St.; Paradise Tobacco, 1926 De la Vina St.; Fuzion Gallery & Boutique, 1115 State St.; Super Cucas Restaurant, 626 W. Micheltorena St.; Dahlia’s Beauty Salon, 1021 State St.; Instant Klasick, 811 State St.; and South Coast Deli, 10 E. Carrillo St., Harwood said.

Sabrina Full Service Salon & Boutique at 1305 Chapala St. and Ashtanga Yoga at 1213 State St., Suite J were added to the list this week.

There were attempted break-ins at the Saks Fifth Avenue department store at 1001 State St., Carrillo Market, 626 W. Micheltorena St. and The Game Stop, 803 Chapala St. — where Harwood said responding officers saw the suspects.

Patrolling Mission Security guards also spotted them outside the Public Market.

“One of our officers saw the suspects trying to get into a taxi cab,” Harwood said. “When the cab started to drive away, the officers basically pounced on them.”

The teens were apprehended at about 4 a.m. Saturday near the MTD station on Chapala Street, he said.

Harwood said the difference between a break-in and an attempted break-in was whether suspects passed the threshold with an intent to commit theft or a felony.

“You don’t have to actually steal something for the burglary to be complete,” he said. “It does kind of fit the pattern of how burglaries happen. We don’t have a lot of burglars (locally), but you have a small number of active people, and they commit a lot of burglaries before they get caught.

“These guys were obviously rather brazen or careless. We’re dealing with juveniles here as well. A number of places had video, and that has been helpful in this investigation.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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