Carpinteria Citizens Capture Robbery Suspects

Carpinteria Citizens Capture Robbery Suspects
Photo: Denis Gutierrez and Jose Romero

Santa Barbara County – The City of Carpinteria, with a reputation as the home of “the world’s safest beach,” is a tranquil community with a weeknight “night life” that wraps up soon after 8:00 p.m. It’s also the kind of small town where most residents are familiar with one another, and everyone knows the people behind the counters of every retail store and call bank tellers by their first names.

So when, just after 10:30 p.m. on the night of January 7th, a local area liquor store—famous for the tacos served during the day—was robbed at gunpoint, those perpetrating the crime had no idea what they were in for.

According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, a 911 Emergency call reporting “a fight” brought patrol deputies to the front yard of an apartment building just a block away from Carpinteria’s commercial thoroughfare.

The responding deputies discovered several local citizens had apprehended 25-year-old Ventura resident Jose Romero, who was “being held down” by them. The area neighbors identified Romero has “having just robbed a liquor store.”

Minutes later, deputies located “a replica firearm” determined to be an air-powered pellet gun suspected as having been used in the commission of the robbery. At that point, a SBSD K9 team was summoned. It didn’t take the dog long to discover 25-year-old Carpinteria resident Denis Gutierrez “hiding in the backseat of a vehicle parked nearby.”

Both Romero and Gutierrez were transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where they were booked on charges of conspiracy, robbery, and for outstanding warrants.

While the actions of the local citizens were expressly appreciated by the deputies, Hoover indicated that “attempting to apprehend suspected criminals who may be armed” is not a particularly safe thing to do. Members of the public are urged to “be great witnesses and to call 911” to report crimes they may unexpectedly observe.

Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking

Carpinteria Citizens Capture Robbery Suspects was last modified: January 15th, 2019 by admin
Categories: Santa Barbara

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Robert L. McCullough

Bob McCullough is a television and screen writer-producer who has worked for every major television network and film studio with more than 200 produced credits. Bob has recently co-authored “Where Hollywood Hides: Santa Barbara”, a hardcover book featuring a wide range of film, television, and music industry celebrities living on the Central Coast. His weekly iTunes podcast about “all things Hollywood” can be heard at