Photo: Juan Jose Rodriguez
Santa Barbara County – The City of Solvang, renowned for its Danish heritage and the best butter cookies on the planet, is the sort of tourist destination small town where full-time residents and neighbors watch out for one another.
That sense of old-fashioned community may be Solvang’s greatest weapon against crime, as was demonstrated on April 14th. According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, it was in broad daylight just after the noon hour when Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Emergency Dispatch Center received “a report of a residential burglary in progress” at a home in downtown Solvang.
Responding in mere minutes to the scene, deputies made contact with the reporting witness who had “observed two male suspects leaving her neighbor’s residence carrying property.”
The eagle-eyed witness made note of the fact that neither of the men were “associated with the residence,” and that they had made their getaway in “a black four door Honda Civic with a smashed front windshield.”
It was long after deputies had that witness statement in mind that the suspect vehicle was spotted on a nearby highway, whereupon patrol units conducted “a traffic stop” on it.
Found inside the vehicle were three Lompoc residents, Juan Jose Rodriguez, 36, Daniel Vargas, 35, and Francisco Omar Lozano, 35. Each of the men was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and “drug smoking paraphernalia,” with Lozano determined to have had “an active felony no-bail warrant.”
All three men were transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where they were booked on a range of charges including residential burglary, conspiracy, possession of burglary tools, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, providing false information to a peace officer, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Adding to his problems, Rodriguez was also charged for driving without a license.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking