May 24, 2017

SCPD Returns Not One But TWO Bikes To The Rightful Owners - An Awesome Community Member and Police Work Gets It Done!

Bike #1- On May 21st, 2017, a thief stole a $5000 Santa Cruz brand mountain bike from its owner in the area of Ocean and Felker Streets. As the suspect bike thief fled on the bike, a passing bicyclist who witnessed the theft followed the suspect. The witness caught up with the suspect on the railroad tracks near Encinal Street and took pictures of him with his phone. The suspect then escaped and rode off into to traffic.

Real follow through on this community member’s part, as the witness then delivered the photo of the suspect to SCPD. Using the photograph taken by the witness, officers were able to identify the suspect as John Walkenbach, a 44-year-old transient from Santa Cruz.

Photo taken of suspect John Walkenbach on the stolen bike.

The next day, SCPD located the suspect, John Walkenbach, riding a different bicycle in the same area where the first theft occurred. SCPD arrested Mr. Walkenbach for grand theft.

Bike #2- During the arrest of suspect Walkenbach for stolen Bike #1, another witness unrelated to the first case approached SCPD officers. The witness asked if SCPD had seen a red-colored, stolen $3000 Specialized Epic brand bicycle. As it turns out, a Santa Cruz Park Ranger who was at the scene recently found that very same bike abandoned in the bushes near San Lorenzo Park.

SCPD Officers continued to track down the stolen Bike #1 and interviewed associates of the suspect. Friends of the suspect were able to recover the stolen bicycle and returned it to the Police Department.

Bike #1 and Bike #2 got returned to the proper owners without delay.

Thank you to everyone who pitched in and did the right thing. The owners of both the bikes rely on them for everyday transportation.

The Santa Cruz Police Department continues to encourage everyone to be partners in public safety. Anyone with information regarding criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department at (831) 420-5820 or Anonymous Tip Line (831) 420-5995.

May 22, 2017

Weekend Highlights

Although the weather was warm and the crowds were large this weekend, most of the action occurred at the end of last week.

On Wednesday May 17th officers responded to a stabbing in the area of California and Otis St. The stabbing was the result of a road rage incident between a motorist and a bicyclist. The bicyclist was reported to be riding in and out of traffic on Mission St. When the motorist took exception to this, an altercation ensued. The victim suffered a non-life threatening stab wound and self-transported himself to Dominican Hospital.

The suspect was quickly identified as Nathan Becker of Santa Cruz. Becker was located the following day by the Santa Cruz Sheriff's Office in the unincorporated area of Watsonville and taken into custody. Becker was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail for attempted murder.

On Thursday May 18th officers responded to the 200 block of Ocean St for a subject armed with a rifle. The subject walked into a business, began rambling and brandished the rifle. Shortly after, the subject left the store and discarded the rifle at his residence nearby. Officers contacted the subject in the 300 block of Ocean St and was able to safely detain the subject. The subject was identified as John Oberg, a 58 year old Santa Cruz resident. Oberg gave officers consent to enter his home and confiscate a .22 caliber rifle.

Oberg was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail brandishing the rifle and disorderly conduct.

However, the weekend ended on a positive note, with Officer Cross being able to make this visitor extremely happy. Officer Cross found a wallet in the beach area, and after some good detective work, was able to reconnect the owner with her wallet.

May 19, 2017

Sign Up Now for Teen Public Safety Academy 2017

Santa Cruz Police and Fire Departments offer teens ages 13-19 the opportunity to learn more about law enforcement and the fire service in this summer’s Teen Public Safety Academy.
In the one-week course, participants gain an understanding of what it takes to become a law enforcement officer, firefighter, 911 dispatcher, and emergency responder through direct observation and participation.

Class sessions are Session #1 July 10-14 - Session #2 July 17-21 - Session #3 August 24-28
Each session runs Monday through Friday 8 am - 4 pm.

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible. Spaces in the Teen Academy fill up quickly. Limited to 20 teen recruits per session. Click here for an application. 
Each action-packed session will include hands-on learning and demonstrations with Santa Cruz Police and Fire Departments. Recruits will engage in a daily physical fitness program in addition to effective instruction from expert police and fire personnel. 
The summer Teen Academy courses developed by the Santa Cruz Police Department provide a phenomenal opportunity to Santa Cruz teenagers who are considering serving their community in careers in law enforcement or public safety, and to those who are interested in learning public safety skills.
During the Academy, SCPD Officers will provide instruction to the students in various areas of law enforcement, including patrol operations, criminal investigations, public safety dispatching, SWAT, and Police K-9 unit. 
The teen academy recruits also receive instruction on fire department operations, learn basic firefighting principles and obtain CPR certification.

The program fee is $40 and includes a T-Shirt and lunches. Graduation ceremonies for each teen academy will be on Friday at 3:30 pm. Family members are invited to attend!

For more information contact: Leo Gomez (831) 420-5952 or - Click here for an application.  

May 17, 2017

Great SCPD police work recovers stolen vehicle in an hour! Officer returns truck to owner ASAP

On Tuesday, 5/16/17, approximately 7:38 am, SPCD Officer Burnham responded to the report of a stolen vehicle downtown on the 1100 block of Pacific Avenue. About an hour later, PO Burnham spotted the stolen Toyota 4Runner driving on River Street. A high-risk car stop was conducted, and the driver plus two occupants were detained without incident. The driver, Phillip Penn, 42-years-old, transient from Santa Cruz, was arrested for auto theft. 

The follow-up investigation located video surveillance footage confirming Phillip Penn as the subject who stole the vehicle. Evidence indicated that the steering column was damaged to employ a hot-wire technique to start the engine. In short order, SCPD officers returned the stolen truck to the grateful owner.

Auto theft is on the rise; the positive news is SCPD has a proven track record for recovering stolen cars. In the last 30 days, SCPD has recovered 35 cars reported stolen in the City of Santa Cruz.

As a community, we can work together to prevent such thefts from occurring. Many stolen cars are left unlocked and/or have a not-so-well-hidden car key in or on the car. Auto theft is a crime of opportunity.

SCPD Tips To Prevent Auto Theft 
• Always lock and secure your vehicle, even if you are only going to be away from your vehicle for a couple of minutes.
• Never leave your car running and unattended, or leave the keys in your vehicle.
• Never hide a spare key to your vehicle on or inside the vehicle.
• Park in well-lighted and highly visible areas.
• Consider installing an alarm, an ignition kill switch, a mechanical anti-theft device, or vehicle tracking system.
• If your vehicle is equipped with an alarm or anti-theft device – use it.
• Do not leave valuables in plain view, such as briefcases, purses, wallets, laptop/camera bags, gym bags or cellular phones. These types of items make it enticing for thieves.
• Most importantly, always report any suspicious people or vehicles to SCPD. Call 9-1-1. Often times, the community reporting and calling the police is what leads to suspects being apprehended.

The Santa Cruz Police Department continues to encourage residents to be partners in public safety. Anyone with information regarding criminal activity is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department at (831) 420-5820 or Anonymous Tip Line (831) 420-5995.

May 11, 2017

Santa Cruz First Responders to the Rescue!

Santa Cruz Police Department, Santa Cruz Fire Department and Harbor Patrol’s coordinated effort rescued a man who injured himself jumping off the wharf.
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at approximately 8:36 pm, Santa Cruz Police responded to a report of an individual calling for help in the water while grasping onto a wharf piling. The 27-year-old man from Santa Cruz was dared to jump from the end of the wharf for $20. He accepted the challenge and jumped. In the process, he suffered a hip and leg injury. Within minutes, SCPD, joined by Fire and Rescue swimmers brought him aboard the Harbor Patrol boat on the scene.

The integrated response between SCPD, SCFD and Harbor Patrol resulted in a successful rescue. The wharf jumper was airlifted to a Bay Area Trauma Center for treatment.