Santa Barbara – The Tajiguas Landfill, just north of the city limits in the unincorporated area of Santa Barbara County is hardly the place one thinks of as a viable burglary target; the infestation of vermin and seagulls alone might give a thinking criminal a moment of pause.
But such was not the case late in the evening of February 4th when Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to what SBSD Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover described as “an alarm activation” at the county’s largest refuse disposal operation. Arriving with all due alacrity, the steadfast Deputies observed four individuals making haste to evacuate the area…and the chase was on. After a brief foot pursuit, two of the four—Marvin Palacios, 25, and Esteban Henriquez, 39, were apprehended and taken into custody.
The third suspect—perhaps a bit fleeter of foot than his partners—required the skills of an SBSD K-9 Unit in the form of a very eager German Shepherd dog. The K-9 “deputy”, having four legs and an impeccable affinity for scenting prey and then running them down, brought Rony Lopez, 36, under control…the hard way. Lopez, while resisting arrest and assaulting the dog, was bitten and ultimately subdued.
The fourth suspect, “despite an extensive search by Sheriff’s Deputies, the Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, and California Highway Patrol,” Hoover reported, was not located and remains at large.
Once Palacios, Henriquez, and Lopez were in custody, deputies on the scene located more than $3,000 in stolen power tools they had removed from storage lockers at the landfill facility. All three were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of burglary, conspiracy, and resisting arrest. Mr. Lopez was booked on the additional charge of attempting to injure a police dog, and all three men are currently held on $20,000 bail.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking
KCOY: Three men arrested for alleged landfill burglary
KSBY: Three arrested in connection with landfill burglary