Carpinteria – It’s not likely that tourists visiting the beachfront town of Carpinteria and lodging at the local Motel 6 are aware of their fellow overnight guests who use the facility to store multiple stolen vehicles and their booty from recent burglaries. But following the events of Thursday, April 9th when, at 4:00 a.m., a routine Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department patrol spotted two individuals sitting in a parked car bearing paper license plates, that awareness may change dramatically.
According to SBSD Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, the deputy made contact with the male and female and quickly learned that the car they were sitting in had been reported as stolen from a dealership in the City of Goleta, just a dozen miles north. Further investigation revealed that there were no less than three other stolen vehicles in the motel parking lot, which promptly led to the arrival of additional law enforcement personnel.
One can only imagine how difficult a decent night’s sleep became for other motel guests as Sheriff’s deputies then conducted a search of the suspects’ motel room and discovered two additional individuals as well as “a large amount of suspected stolen property, including electronics, firearms, and musical equipment” as well as evidence of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. (One can only hope that the investigating deputies, sensitive to the slumber of others in the motel complex, went about their work in hushed tones.)
Taken into custody were Jose Gonzalez, a 22-year old from Santa Barbara, Cesar Ortega, 21 from Goleta, 23-year old Christian Juarez of Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara resident Cristal Landa, 18. All four were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on a plethora of felony charges including conspiracy, possession of stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia, providing false information to a peace officer, and various probation violations, with bail set at $150,000 each.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking