SANTA BARBARA COUNTY — Just as dawn broke over the city of Goleta, a stolen vehicle report sent a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department patrol officer to the scene of the alleged crime, where the owner of a 2003 white Chevrolet Suburban admitted to having left the SUV running just outside the front door of his apartment complex, “so that it could warm up.”
According to SBSD Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, “he left the vehicle unattended for approximately 15 minutes and when he returned, the vehicle was missing.”
It was at that point that the victim made his 911 call to report the theft. Minutes later, the responding deputy, traveling northbound on U.S. 101, observed “a vehicle matching the description” of the Suburban with the warm seats as it headed southbound on U.S. 101 toward the city of Santa Barbara.
The deputy—traveling in the opposite direction and unable to give pursuit at that time—made a radio call to other patrol units in the area to report what he had just seen traveling in the opposite direction. Moments later, another patrol officer spotted the suspect vehicle and, with the assistance of other units responding to the scene, conducted “a high-risk traffic stop.”
Behind the wheel of the Suburban was Bakersfield resident Kurt Eilers, 29, but he didn’t remain there for long, as he was summarily “removed from the vehicle at gunpoint.”
It was soon determined that Eilers was inebriated, whereupon he was arrested and transported to Santa Barbara County Jail and booked on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle and driving under the influence, with his bail set at $25,000.