Archive » October 27, 2011
By SYVJ Staff
Televisions go missingDeputies responded to a residence in Santa Ynez on a report of a burglary. He spoke with the victim, who said his home had been broken into sometime between 9 a.m. on Oct. 2. and 9 a.m. on Oct. 9. The home was a weekend retreat for him and his wife, who stated she ensured all the doors were locked before she left, but later realized she hadn’t locked an outside door that allowed access to the home’s attached garage. Inside that garage is an interior access door leading to the home. The man said he knew something was amiss when he saw damage to the then-opened garage door. After surveying his home, he noted all but one of the flat-screen televisions had been stolen. The deputy noted that the point of entry was through the garage’s access door. In all, four flat-screen television sets were stolen, valued at $6,000. All had been mounted on walls and had been pried loose. The remaining television was partially removed from its wall mount, evinced by the television’s disconnected cords and a screw missing from the mount. The deputy found neither fingerprints nor signs of any other physical evidence other than damage to the garage’s door. The case was suspended, pending leads.
Joke’s on herA deputy was parked near the Chumash Gas station, near the intersection of Mission Drive and Edison Street, when he saw an SUV turn east onto the highway and fail to stop before making a right turn against a red light. The deputy followed the vehicle that was traveling 75 mph in a 55 mph zone. The vehicle turned right onto eastbound Highway 154 without signaling, prompting the deputy to pull it over. He contacted the driver, who admitted her license had been suspended because of a DUI. She said she had a driver’s license but claimed to not have it on her. Nor could she provide the vehicle’s registration paperwork.
A computer check showed her license was suspended and that her registration expired. He confronted her about the license and informed her that he was arresting her and having the vehicle towed for 30 days to a nearby commercial lot. He searched the vehicle for registration paperwork and located the driver’s purse in the rear seat. Inside, he found the registration and an identification card that had information that didn’t match the information he got from a DMV computer check. He eventually found her expired California identification card that bore the correct information. When he confronted her about this, she asked to speak to a lawyer. When he arrested her, she changed her mind and waived her rights. She told him the card was a “joke” her friend had brought back from Mexico. She said she never used it during law enforcement contacts, but contradicted herself moments later when she said, “I only presented it to the Santa Barbara Police Department and they had no issues with it.” She was booked into the county’s main jail.
Check mateA deputy followed up with a woman who said she was defrauded by her elderly uncle’s long-time friend. The woman said she was the controller of her 95-year-old uncle’s estate. He was being hospitalized in Santa Barbara and she intended on placing him in an assisted-living facility near her home in Illinois. She hired her uncle’s friend to help with the sale of his estate and wanted the sale’s proceeds to be put toward his funeral fund. She closed a hand-written agreement with the friend, outlining the woman’s responsibilities. The victim said two days later the owner of an art gallery called her about a woman who attempted to collect all of her uncle’s paintings, which the owner had on consignment. He received a faxed copy of the contract the woman provided and faxed it to the victim, who immediately recognized that it was forged. She unsuccessfully attempted to contact the suspect, so she called the Sheriff’s Department. The deputy only reached the suspect’s voicemail and left a message. He spoke to the gallery owner, who said that on Oct. 2 the suspect entered his business with two men. He noted she was “loud and obnoxious.” He said she demanded that he hand over all of the uncle’s paintings in his store. The man refused, saying he needed to see a contract that stated she had permission to take the paintings. She handed him a private check that was written from the owner to the uncle in 2006 for a painting he sold for him. She then told him to “make the check good.” The owner became suspicious and reiterated his request for a contract. The woman then left the gallery and later faxed him a copy of the contract. He contacted the victim, who checked the copy and discovered the contract had been rewritten to include the paintings and bore a forged signature in her name. The deputy managed to reach the suspect by phone Oct. 11. The woman, 79, explained that she had been friends with the uncle for 25 years and had been hired to conduct an estate sale, which she did as an occupation. She said the uncle’s roommate had told her that some of his paintings were at the gallery and advised her to get them so they could be included in the estate sale. She admitted she did “a bad thing” by forging a contract.
She claimed she only did it with the uncle’s best interest in mind and had phoned the niece to apologize. The deputy informed her that she committed a felony. She pled with the deputy, noting that in her 79 years she had never gotten into trouble before. Asked about the check she demanded be cashed, she said she wanted the $200 to go toward the funeral fund. The deputy told her he would call her after speaking with the victim. The victim was still upset and thought she had been taken advantage of, but when the deputy suggested that her uncle’s friend’s age may have hindered her decision-making ability, the woman decided against pressing charges. She did not wish to continue fulfilling any kind of contract with the friend. The deputy called the suspect and advised her of the conversation. She apologized and said it would never happen again.
Smashing pumpkinsAn employee of Santa Ynez Union High School reported someone had thrown several pumpkins at the school’s automotive department. The reporting party said he left the department on Oct. 13 and ensured that the building was secured and that there were no damages or anything unusual. When he returned on Oct. 17, he saw several pumpkins had been thrown at the department. One smashed the front windshield of a car, causing $550 in damages. A teacher in the agricultural department had recently reported the theft of several pumpkins from the Agricultural Department’s farm that were believed to have been used during the incident.
One man bannedA man was cited for violating a permanent ban at the Chumash Casino. The man, 60, of Ventura, was confronted by casino security personnel who told him he wasn’t supposed to be there. The man acknowledged the ban. They escorted him to the information area and contacted authorities. A casino investigator signed a citizen’s arrest because the man had been previously cited for trespassing in July and had served five days in county jail. The man said he was still trying to get the ban lifted. He was cited and released.
Stolen phoneDeputies were dispatched to the Chumash Casino on a report of theft. Upon arrival, they spoke with an investigator who said a suspect took another patron’s cellular phone. The suspect was identified by her casino club card. Surveillance video showed the victim and the suspect, 36, of Santa Maria, chatting. Then the victim moved to another nearby machine, leaving her phone in plain view on top of the other. The suspect was shown getting up, taking the phone and leaving the casino. When the deputy informed the victim the woman next to her had taken her phone, she identified the suspect but did not want to press charges. She asked for a police report for insurance purposes.
The bong showA deputy observing traffic traveling east on Mission Drive in Solvang observed a car heading east without its license plate light. He stopped the car and smelled marijuana when the driver rolled down the window. He also saw an empty blue medical marijuana container on the passenger seat and a cigarette on the driver’s lap. The driver consented to a search before admitting there was marijuana inside. The search turned up a bong (glass marijuana smoking device) that appeared to have been hastily placed in the center console. The man said his medical marijuana card expired and was cited.