Photo: Donyae Dixon
Santa Barbara-As if the posh community of Montecito–the scene of devastating mudslides and a monstrous debris flow that killed no fewer than 23 residents in the pre-dawn hours of January 9, 2018–didn’t have enough problems, residents are now plagued with a certain criminal element targeting abandoned homes.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, “deputies have been providing increased patrols of the Montecito area,” but there continue to be brazen attempts to take advantage of the disaster. More than once SBSD deputies have arrested “tourists” cruising the neighborhood streets who are found to have active felony warrants or to be in possession of stolen property.
The community has a newfound heightened awareness of the potential for criminal activity, and on the night of February 1st, one local homeowner’s senses were on high alert as he “heard strange noises coming from a child’s bedroom inside his residence.”
Moments later, the homeowner found himself face-to-face with “a male suspect dressed in dark clothing,” whereupon he shouted at the man who promptly “jumped out of a window he had previously broken to force entry to the residence.”
The homeowner’s 911 Emergency call brought a nearby Sheriff’s patrol to the scene “within minutes,” and with the victim’s description, an immediate hunt for the suspect was initiated. A K-9 unit and additional patrol personnel were summoned, and shortly thereafter, 25-year-old Lancaster resident Frank James Showel and 29-year-old Los Angeles resident Donyae Dixon were found “hiding in the bushes alongside the roadway.”
Both men were taken into custody, arrested, and transported to Santa Barbara County Jail where they were booked on charges of burglary, conspiracy, and false impersonation, with bail set at $50,000 each.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking