A drunken brawl downtown left a man lying unconscious after being falsely accused of stealing a man’s wallet, police said in a holiday weekend roundup Monday.
The assault seemed to be the most serious offense in Santa Barbara during the Thanksgiving holiday, although a few other incidents were mentioned in the report, such as a traffic stop that led to two arrests for the alleged theft of a purse and possession of drugs.
Following the downtown donnybrook at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, police arrested Jason Rene Sullivan, 21, on suspicion of assault causing serious injury. Witnesses told police Sullivan had been drinking in a nightclub when he misplaced his wallet.
“Assuming someone stole it, he ran out to find the suspect,” said Lt. Paul McCaffrey, spokesman for the Santa Barbara Police Department, in a statement. “He asked the victim if he had the wallet and an argument ensued.”
Sullivan allegedly punched the victim, knocking him out cold near the intersection of Fig Avenue and Haley Street, McCaffrey said.
“Ironically,” he added, “one of Sullivan’s friends had his wallet.”
In another incident, a man and a woman were arrested after a traffic stop on suspicion of stealing a purse and possessing drugs, police said.
Around 12:45 Wednesday morning, police pulled over a 2001 Mercury SUV for a stop sign violation, McCaffrey said.
“The driver, James Pawlonek, age 43, gave someone else’s name and drivers license,” he said. “The passenger, Debbi Barnack, backed up the story of his bogus identity.”
An officer suspected that Pawlonek may have been under the influence of stimulants. A search from a female officer turned up packets of crystal meth from Barnack, McCaffrey said.
“In the back seat of the vehicle was a purse stolen earlier in the day from a vehicle parked at the Las Positas Tennis Courts,” he said. “Both suspects were arrested for possession and transportation of meth, and possession of stolen property.”