Santa Barbara’s downtown State Street, a renowned magnet for shoppers and tourists, is lined with a wide array of eclectic retail offerings ranging from the upscale Sak’s Fifth Avenue to pop-up t-shirt emporiums, and none are immune to the impact of a seasonal tide of panhandlers lining the sidewalks.
Some of these transient entrepreneurs are creative and play musical instruments for passersby in the hope of a gratuity dropped into a jar. Others read poetry aloud for the more literary tourist taste, and still others hold cute puppies in their laps. But Trevor Ian Ruggles, 23, took the challenge to “do something different” perhaps a little too far on April Fool’s Day when, according to Santa Barbara Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Riley Harwood, “he was observed displaying a machete while rudely asking passersby for money” in the heart of the busy shopping and restaurant scene.
SBPD dispatch received a 911 Emergency call reporting a man with a machete at approximately 10:00 a.m. and responding officers observed Ruggles as he noted their arrival and quickly sheathed a 22-inch machete into his backpack. When the 911 call was made, Harwood reported to the media, Ruggles had been seen “tossing his machete into the air while ordering pedestrians nearby ‘Give me your—expletive deleted—money.’”
A citizen’s arrest of Ruggles was made by an SBPD community services liaison civilian employee pursuant to his apparent violation of a Municipal Code proscribing aggressive panhandling and the display of a knife more than three inches in length.
Ruggles was cited at the scene and issued a Notice to Appear on an outstanding non-extraditable warrant from Santa Monica.
Los Angeles Times: Machete-tossing panhandler arrested in Santa Barbara, police say
Hollywood LAist: Machete-Throwing Panhandler Busted After Threatening Pedestrians
EdHat Santa Barbara: Subject Penhandling With a Machete