Nov. 30

Pray in vain

At 11:29 deputies responded to a report of a suspicious subject at the rear of Solvang Market. The man was holding a lit piece of incense in his left hand, a cigarette in his right. Next to him was a 36-ounce can of beer. Deputies contacted the man, 62, of Watsonville, and asked what he was doing. The man said he’d taken a bus to Fresno but got off to pray. He denied ownership of the beer, but later recanted and said he’d purchased it from the store. He was cited for open container and released.

Dec. 2

Losers, weepers

At 7:02 p.m., deputies responded to a report of phone theft at a public restroom on Mission Drive and 4th Street. The victim was reportedly following the perpetrator, a homeless man, eastbound on Mission Drive. When deputies arrived, the victim pointed at the man. They apprehended the man, 61, and asked to talk to him. He immediately said, “I found it in the bathroom! I didn’t do anything wrong. Finders keepers!” They asked the man to hand over the phone, a blue Samsung Juke device. He said he found it in the bathroom stall down the street. The man said he didn’t return the phone to the owner following him because he claimed two men had claimed ownership of the phone. He reiterated that he didn’t have to return it because he found it. The victim declined to file charges after retrieving his phone. The homeless man refused to speak to deputies and was released.

Curb his thirst

At 11:01 p.m. deputies were dispatched on a report of a drunken driver. The suspect, 21, male, of Solvang was last seen driving in the alley between First and Second Street. Deputies located the man and followed him until he pulled over on First Street (hitting the curb several times in the process). Because of a language barrier, the deputies had trouble communicating with him. The man blew a .171 BAC on a Breathalyzer test and was booked into county jail. His vehicle was towed to a nearby commercial lot.

Dec. 3

Hatchet job

At 2:48 p.m. two men came to the Solvang station to report that their vehicle had been vandalized earlier that day. One of the victims, the son of the other, said he’d driven his father’s car to the local high school at 8 a.m. and parked it along the west shoulder of Refugio Road. He returned at 2 p.m. and found the paint peeling, bubbling and falling from the vehicle. He said someone appeared to have thrown acid or a caustic chemical on the vehicle, causing $3,000 in damage. He also said someone had released air from the right front and rear tires. He told deputies he didn’t know who would damage the vehicle and said he didn’t have any enemies at school or in the community. The father said he was worried someone might be after him but could not provide suspect information to assist the investigation. The men did not bring the vehicle to the station for the deputy to inspect, but they told him that there were no signs of attempted auto theft or burglary, nor were there any car parts missing. The case was suspended, pending leads.

To tell the truth

At 1:30 p.m. deputies responded to Mail Road to assist a deputy transporting a woman to Lompoc Jail. The woman had been arrested while working as a home nurse for an elderly man after she was determined to be under the influence of alcohol. Deputies arrived at the jail and searched the woman’s purse, finding a glass pipe with burn marks on the end. The woman, 31, of Lompoc, denied ownership – but after the deputies told her they didn’t believe her because she looked intoxicated, she put her head down and said she didn’t use “very much.” The pipe was seized as evidence.

One thing leads to another

At 5:50 p.m. a man reported more than $2,000 was stolen from his residence. The man said he recently started moving into his home and left possessions on his front porch two days before and returned to find it missing. The property included two metal tool boxes, numerous plumbing tools and supplies, and one oxygen tank with a regulator and head. He had no idea who would have taken the items.

Dec. 4

Take it to the bank

Deputies responded to Montecito Bank & Trust in Solvang on a report of a suspicious person. The branch manager told deputies that over the last two days, a 50-something-year-old man with long, grey hair and dark, shaded glasses, walked inside the bank, grabbed a brochure and sat down. He looked around, apparently to scope out the security cameras. When a clerk asked him if he needed assistance, he stood up and left while apparently trying to avoid looking at the cameras. The next day, a manager from First Bank in Solvang visited the manager of MB&T and discovered that the same man had visited her bank. While they were talking, they saw the man cross Mission Drive toward New Frontiers Market, wearing the same clothes with his hood over his head. He was carrying a blue MB&T bag, which is doled out to new customers. The deputy advised the managers to contact law enforcement if they or their employees saw the man again.

Message in a bottle

At 7:20 a.m. deputies on routine patrol on Highway 154 noticed a pickup truck traveling 45 mph fail to yield to other vehicles. They noticed the vehicle’s license plate was inoperable and pulled the driver over in the Park and Ride lot on Highway 246. The man didn’t have any form of identification and said his California license had expired. The passenger said he was the owner and had allowed the man to drive because he had arthritis. The men were headed to the Chumash Casino. The deputy arrested the driver and cited the passenger after finding an empty beer bottle below his seat and noticing he was under the influence of alcohol. The vehicle was towed to a nearby commercial lot.

Left holding the bag

At 8:30 a.m. deputies responded to the Chumash Casino to investigate a man who had an active warrant for his arrest out of San Luis Obispo County. They met with casino security staff and confirmed the identity of the man, who was found on the casino gaming floor. Deputies arrested the man, 29, of Grover Beach, and found a syringe in his left pant pocket and a plastic bag containing a brown tar-like substance. The man confirmed that it was heroin he bought for $20. He was arrested and booked into county jail.

Dec. 5

Pissed off

Deputies responded to the Chumash Casino on a report of two males causing a disturbance. The men, 24 and 28 of Santa Barbara, were seen by casino personnel urinating over a breeze walkway, cursing at casino patrons and becoming confrontational with casino security staff. Deputies contacted the man on Sanja Cota Avenue, near the area where they had urinated. The deputies immediately noticed they were intoxicated. The men said they arrived at the casino for their company’s Christmas party. Deputies arrested them because they appeared unable to care for their own safety or property of others. A search of one of the men’s jackets turned up a snack-size Baggie of marijuana and a glass pipe. The two were booked into county jail.