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Vehicle-Theft Suspect Captured After Swimming Into Ocean to Elude Santa Barbara Police

Shane Hale, 40, allegedly was found driving a new Honda Accord reported stolen from a Ventura dealership

Shane Hale, 40, is taken to a waiting ambulance after being plucked from the water in Santa Barbara on Thursday. He was arrested for allegedly stealing a new Honda Accord from a Ventura dealership.
Shane Hale, 40, is taken to a waiting ambulance after being plucked from the water in Santa Barbara on Thursday. He was arrested for allegedly stealing a new Honda Accord from a Ventura dealership. (Vicky Nguyen / KEYT.com photo)

A man suspected of stealing a car from a dealership fled from police by swimming out into the ocean in Santa Barbara Thursday afternoon, but eventually was taken into custody.

The incident began shortly before 2 p.m. when two officers on patrol in the 600 block of Cabrillo Boulevard saw a man they knew to be a drug user behind the wheel of a brand new Honda Accord, according to Santa Barbara Police Sgt. Riley Harwood.

The officers attempted to contact the driver, identified as Shane Hale, 40, but he walked away, Harwood said.

A check of the Honda's registration number revealed it had been stolen earlier in the day from a dealership in Ventura, Harwood said.

The officers also determined that Hale was wanted on a warrant out of San Luis Obispo County.

Now with probable cause, the officers attempted to make an arrest, but Hale entered the ocean and swam away, Harwood said, adding that he eventually covered an estimated quarter mile in the water.

Three city Harbor Patrol boats were called in to assist, Harwood said, and although Hale initially was “non-compliant” with attempts to pluck him from the water, he eventually was taken into custody.

The vehicle, with no plates, was found parked in the 600 block of Cabrillo Boulevard.

Hale was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital for a medical examination, then was to be booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, Harwood said.

He faces charges of vehicle theft and resisting arrest, as well as the outstanding warrant, Harwood 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.

This Honda Accord was reported stolen Thursday from a Ventura dealership. Santa Barbara police say they arrested Shane Hale in connection with the theft. Click to view larger
This Honda Accord was reported stolen Thursday from a Ventura dealership. Santa Barbara police say they arrested Shane Hale in connection with the theft. (Vicky Nguyen / KEYT.com photo)

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