The following is taken from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office media report for the Santa Ynez Valley patrol.

Those appearing as "arrested" have only been arrested on suspicion of the crime indicated and are presumed innocent.

Sunday, Oct. 24:

ARREST — One person was cited, another was arrested and a third is being sought in connection with the theft of tools from Tractor Supply Co. in Buellton.

About 2:40 p.m., a man and woman entered the store on Highway 246, where employees and others allegedly saw them putting power tools in a backpack, then attempt to leave the store.

Employees tried to detain the woman, identified as Ecstacia Willis, who dropped the tools she was carrying and allegedly used force to escape. The couple got into a vehicle and fled westbound on Highway 246, although employees got the license plate number, which a records check revealed was registered to an individual in Arroyo Grande.

Sheriff’s units in Santa Maria set up on Highway 101 and, after spotting the vehicle, attempted to stop it, whereupon the front passenger, subsequently identified as Robert Thomas, jumped out and fled on foot, jumping over fences and evading capture.

Willis, who was driving, and rear passenger Kole Espinoza were detained while deputies searched the vehicle and found allegedly stolen tools and a backpack, which also allegedly contained an unregistered handgun, on the floorboard where Thomas had been sitting.

Deputies also allegedly found narcotics and drug paraphernalia on both Espinoza and Willis, who were arrested and taken to the Solvang substation for questioning.

Espinoza, who was allegedly asleep in the vehicle and didn’t enter Tractor Supply, was cited and released. Because the value of the stolen property was less than $950, the District Attorney’s Office planned to charge Willis with misdemeanor theft.

INCIDENT — Deputies were called to Conserv Fuel in Buellton about 9:15 p.m. for an individual who refused to leave the property and found the man had been reported missing by his mother in San Bernardino County.

Deputies notified San Bernardino County officials of the man’s whereabouts and provided him with a courtesy ride to Lompoc.

Tuesday, Oct. 26:

INCIDENT — A Lompoc resident reported he’d found that day and previously on Oct. 19 that his vehicle had been “keyed,” causing an estimated $1,500 to $2,000 in damage, but he didn’t know if it occurred at his home or when it was parked in the 2000 block of Mission Drive in Solvang.

INCIDENT — A resident in the 1500 block of North Refugio Road in Santa Ynez reported someone had stolen checks from the mailbox and forged checks totaling $4,000 and used a credit card at multiple locations in Santa Maria.

Wednesday, Oct. 27:

INCIDENT — Deputies spotted a Mercedes-Benz with no license plates parked next to the mailboxes at Valley Vineyard in Buellton and contacted three Los Angeles residents who were inside the vehicle.

The three allowed a search of the vehicle, and deputies allegedly turned up a Sawzall in the backseat, but no other tools, and two methamphetamine pipes. Deputies were allowed to take possession of the Sawzall for safekeeping.

Thursday, Oct. 28:

INCIDENT — An arrest warrant on suspicion of battery, assault with a deadly weapon and assault with a flammable substance was sought for a man who allegedly choked another man about 9 p.m. in the 3000 block of Avenida Caballo in Santa Ynez.

The victim told deputies the suspect used a chokehold to restrain him, making it difficult to breathe, and forced his face into a stove with the gas line on, which he believed caused him to briefly lose consciousness.

He didn’t know how he escaped but was able to get free and leave the house, but the suspect was gone by the time deputies arrived.

However, the following day at about 10:50 p.m., deputies went to the residence to arrest Steven Nicholas on the warrant and saw him inside, but he refused commands to come out.

After a brief standoff, Nicholas was arrested without incident. However, deputies allegedly found an alprazolam pill and two other prescription pills on him. Because he couldn’t provide proof either medication had been prescribed for him, he was also arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance and possessing a prescription medication without a prescription.


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