SANTA BARBARA — More than three dozen stolen guns have been seized and a pair of felony arrests were made Wednesday following a two-week investigation into a local residential burglary.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Drew Sugars, detectives initiated a burglary task force investigation early this month following a report of a large gun safe having been removed from the garage of a private residence in Goleta, just north of the Santa Barbara city limits. The reported burglary occurred in the home of a recent decedent some time between July 9 and Aug. 3, when the theft was first discovered by family members.
“Knowing what we were after in terms of these weapons being out on the streets, we were pretty aggressive about this,” Sugars said.
With the help of anonymous tips provided by what Sugars would only describe as “informed sources” in his statement to the media, sheriff’s detectives working in concert with agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms last week served a search warrant on the residence of John Lopez, 41.
At the time of the Aug. 18 search, more than three dozen firearms were found and taken into evidence of the gun safe burglary. Lopez was arrested on suspicion of felony residential burglary, felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, with bail set at $50,000.
Also taken into custody with Lopez that morning was James Dunning, 36, who was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of felony possession of stolen property, felony possession of assault weapons, and felony possession of a deadly weapon, with bail also set at $50,000.