February 10, 2016

Help SCPD Identify Suspect in Child Luring Incident

The Santa Cruz Police Department is asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect wanted in connection to a child luring case. The suspect attempted to lure a 12 year old boy into his car on the upper west side of Santa Cruz.
The incident happened on Wednesday 2/03/2016 at approximately 4:00 p.m. when the suspect tried to lure the juvenile victim into his car. The boy was riding his skateboard near his home when he noticed a car driving back and forth on the street. The suspect then parked near the 12 year old boy and asked if he wanted to get in. The boy said “No”. The driver then drove a few feet closer to the boy and attempted to lure the boy into his car. The boy then ran off and notified his parents who in turn called the police.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male, 5'6", in his mid-30 with yellowish teeth. He was wearing a short sleeve gray shirt. The suspect spoke in English with a heavy Spanish accent. The suspect fled the area driving a light gold compact sedan with faded paint.
An image of the suspect vehicle was captured from a nearby residence's security camera.

Residents are urged to be on the lookout for this vehicle and to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity. SCPD encourages parents to caution their kids to be aware of their surroundings and to simply run if approached by a stranger.

Anyone with information relative to the suspect’s identity is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department Investigations Unit (831) 420-5820.

February 2, 2016

Massage Parlor Sting & Human Trafficking Investigation

On January 29, 2016, the Santa Cruz Police Department Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) conducted an undercover human trafficking and prostitution sting focusing on illegal acts of prostitution in local massage businesses. The operation was borne out of community complaints and suspicions about the activity occurring in the businesses.
Four local businesses were visited by undercover officers during this operation. In all four locations, employees solicited the undercover officers by offering to perform sex acts in exchange for money during the course of the massage. The businesses are:

Lucky Valley Health Center
827 Water Street

Asian Massage
212 Fern Street

Health Care Massage
223 River Street

Golden Bay Spa
551 Frederick Street

In all, four women were cited for soliciting an act of prostitution. Their ages are 50, 44, 30 and 42 years old. Our investigation revealed that all four of the women are Chinese Nationals.

It is not uncommon to find that women working in such businesses, engaging in illegal acts of prostitution, are indeed victims of a larger human trafficking operation. The Police Department Victim Advocate and an advocate from Monarch Services accompanied the operation to offer services and assist in assessing the participants for possible human trafficking involvement. The team also included Mandarin and Cantonese translators.
In addition to the advocates, other agencies assisting in this operation include the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team (SCCACT), the District Attorney’s Office, and Federal and State law enforcement.
The Santa Cruz Police Department Neighborhood Enforcement Team plans to conduct similar operations in the near future. These operations are designed to address potential human trafficking operations and ensure these businesses are operating within the law.

The Santa Cruz Police Department is committed to improving the quality of life for our community and stopping those that seek to victimize and/or exploit others. 

Anyone who has information on illegal activity, such as this, in and around the City of Santa Cruz is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department. Tipsters can also share this information via our anonymous tip line at (831) 420-5995. Additional services available for victims of human trafficking include:

National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888

Monarch Services 1-888-900-4232

January 29, 2016

4 Thieves Arrested. All in a day’s work at SCPD

Thursday was a particularly good day for catching thieves. Furthermore, two stolen bikes were returned to their rightful owners!

Incident #1
On Thursday 1/28/16 at 4:43 am, an alert neighbor who witnessed a suspect taking items from his neighbor’s garage quickly called 911. The neighbor gave an excellent description of the suspect wearing a blue colored “Santa Cruz” hoody, carrying backpack and box of items taken from the garage. Within minutes an SCPD Officer arrived to the 1100 block of East Cliff Drive and located the suspect Chayne Hampton, 31, from Santa Cruz.

Chayne Hampton, 31 years old from Santa Cruz
Chayne Hampton had the following items in his possession a speaker, box of knives and an assortment of collectible rocks which were consistent with items that were taken from the victim’s garage. Chayne Hampton was booked in jail for burglary.

Incident #2
On Thursday 1/28/16, at 6:27 am, a SCPD Officer quickly responded to a call about a vehicle burglary in the 200 block of Grant Street. The victim had chased down and restrained the suspect when police arrived. The incident unfolded as the victim was preparing to go to work. He had unlocked his truck that was parked in the back driveway of the residence. The victim went inside his home for a few minutes and came out to find the suspect, Dennis Ballard sitting in driver’s side of the truck and rummaging through the center console.

Dennis Ballard, 47 years old, transient Santa Cruz
Multiple items had been set outside of the truck that was previously inside the cab of the truck. The victim confronted the suspected burglar who started to run away. The victim was able to chase down and hold the suspect down until police arrived.

Items that were taken from the truck included Carhart rain jacket, a chainsaw and an envelope of cash.

SCPD Officers arrested Dennis Ballard, 47, transient from Santa Cruz for grand theft and a felony warrant.

Incident #3

SCPD is please to inform you the results in this case reunited two bikes to back to their rightful owners.

On Thursday 1/28/16, at 10: 45 am, an SCPD Officer doing a routine area check under the Soquel Bridge made contact with Robert Palmer. Mr. Palmer was in possession of two bicycles that did not appear to belong to him. 
The Officer checked the serial numbers on both bikes in the SCPD data base for stolen bikes. One bike was listed as stolen from a UCSC Police case. The other bike had been recently stolen from the Santa Cruz Teen Center. 
Robert Palmer, 27, transient from Santa Cruz was cited at the scene for being in the possession of stolen property. 

Incident #4
On Thursday 1/28/16, at 8:30 pm, SCPD’s Neighborhood Enforcement Team- NET put out a bait bicycle in front of CVS on Front St. After about 10 minutes, Patrick Falconer stole with bicycle. 

Patrick Falconer, 50 years old from Santa Cruz
He was located a short while later in the area of Ocean St. and Soquel Ave. Patrick Falconer, 50, from Santa Cruz claimed the bicycle belonged to his friend even though he said he saw a subject he did not know get off of the bicycle. Patrick Falconer was arrested for a felony theft since the bait bicycle has an appraised value of $3999.

January 28, 2016

Local Media Gets Showroom Visit with SCPD BearCat

Update on the BearCat
Today, the local media got a showroom visit with the SCPD BearCat.

This new state-of-the-art vehicle will enhance the safety of residents but also ensure the safety and protection of first responders in dangerous and high-risk situations.

 "The safety of our community members and first responders is our top priority.  We hope we never have to use this vehicle, but we will be prepared", said Chief Vogel.
We have completed personnel training on the use and capabilities on the armored response rescue truck. Team training is ongoing with firefighters and paramedics, as well.

The BearCat has specialized equipment that takes training and knowledge to operate. SCPD is committed to ensuring our staff is fully trained and certified prior to deploying the vehicle.

In light of the recent incidents in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino, we are fortunate that our City Council agreed 6 to 1 to protect and support our first responders and victims.  The BearCat will play a vital role and be invaluable during these high-risk incidents. 

 "This is one of those pieces of equipment you hope you never have to deploy. But, history has taught us that we need to be prepared and we cannot think it won't happen here.", said Lt. Flippo -ESU Commander

The vehicle allows police officers and first responders to get closer as they approach a variety of tactical situations including; high-risk search or arrest warrants, barricaded suspects, active shooter scenarios, and hostage situations.

SCPD now has the added protection for our police officers as they approach homes, businesses and schools while taking direct fire.
SCPD will have the ability to 

1. deploy officers and 1st responders quickly  
2. safely retrieve injured persons and move them to safety 
3. enhance our ability to respond to urgent situations.

The truck, based on a shortened Ford F-550 chassis, has a smooth ride despite its size. It can go as fast as most standard cars. About a dozen officers can fit inside.

This truck will be used to keep people safe and save lives.

January 21, 2016

Stolen iPad Leads SCPD to Arrest in Home Burglary Case & Fencing Operation

Two suspects who fenced thousands of dollars worth of stolen items including electronics, high-end bikes and jewelry were arrested by Santa Cruz Police. A stolen iPad led Officers directly to the 76 Gas Station on Mission Street and Walnut Avenue where the fencing operation was discovered.

On Friday, January 16, 2016, at about 1:30 p.m., the Santa Cruz Police Department received a call from the victim of a residential burglary who believed he had located his stolen iPad. The victim activated the "Find My iPhone" app and was able to trace his iPad to a location near the corner of Mission Street and Walnut Avenue.

An SCPD patrol officer met with the victim and confirmed that the app signal was emanating from inside the 76 Gas Station at 904 Mission Street. The Officer gave instructions to the victim to sound the alarm on the iPad when the officer was inside the gas station.

While the Officer was speaking with the store manager and an employee standing behind the counter, the iPad alarm sounded. Initially, both suspects claimed not to hear it and tried to ignore the alarm. The stolen iPad was located inside a bag on the counter next to station manager Felipe Chavez and employee Angel Guzman. The bag contained two iPads.

Felipe Chavez, 46 from San Jose
The 76 Gas Station manager is Felipe Chavez, 46 years old from San Jose. Chavez claimed that he had found the bag outside the business in the bushes. Officers continued to investigate and eventually searched Chavez’s truck parked at the business. That search resulted in additional stolen items seized from Chavez. Those items included property stolen from the victim.

Angel Guzman, 19 from Watsonville
The gas station employee is Angel Guzman, 19 years old from Watsonville. During the investigation, Officers also searched Guzman’s car parked at the business. Like Chavez, Guzman also had additional items believed to be stolen in his car.

As the investigation continued, Officers discovered a backroom at the business that contained additional property also believed to be stolen. This property consisted of high-end bicycles and construction tools. Based on this discovery, the business was closed and secured as detectives were called in and a search warrant was obtained.
Mr. Chavez, the 76 station manager, resides in San Jose and is the domestic partner of the business owner. Detectives conducted a search of their home on Flinthaven Drive in San Jose. During this search, Detectives seized 19 mid to high-end bicycles, jewelry and electronics. Detectives have been successful in matching a number of items with property stolen in burglaries throughout Santa Cruz. So far, over $10,000 in stolen property has been matched to previous burglary cases. Detectives believe stolen items were likely traded for goods or resold at the gas station. They may have also off loaded the stolen products at flea markets in the Bay Area.
The investigation found that the suspects are involved in the ongoing distribution of stolen property, also known as a fencing operation. Felipe Chavez was arrested for receiving and possession of stolen property. Angel Guzman was arrested for conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of stolen property.

SCPD Investigative team believes the stolen property came from home and auto break-ins in Santa Cruz and the San Jose area. Police believe that the arrested suspects are part of a larger theft and stolen property operation, and our investigation continues.

SCPD encourages people to enable such security features in their portable electronic devices whenever possible, and to familiarize themselves with how to use them. If your portable electronic device is stolen or lost and you are using a remote application to track its location, notify your local law enforcement agency immediately and do not take independent action to attempt to recover your property.

Anyone with information relative to this investigation is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department Investigation Unit at (831) 420-5820. 

Bike Thief Arrested & Car Thief Arrested - Thanks to Calls from Alert Citizens

Incident #1
Santa Cruz Police arrested Jared Michael Foster, aka Mark Foster on an array of charges after an alert citizen recognized their stolen bicycle that he was riding.

On Friday, January 15, 2016, at about 12:30 a.m., an alert citizen called SCPD after recognizing his stolen Caletti bicycle valued at $5000.00. The suspect Jared Foster was riding the bicycle through a Westside neighborhood.

Responding to the call, an SCPD officer located the suspect riding the bicycle along the railroad tracks in the 100 block of Fair Avenue. The person matching the suspect description with the described bicycle was later identified as Jared Michael Foster, aka Mark Foster, 34, transient originally from Santa Cruz.
Jared Foster, 34, transient from Santa Cruz
When the Officer attempted to stop the suspect, he dropped the bicycle and sprinted away. As the suspect was running, he took off his sweatshirt and dropped his backpack before he jumped over a fence in his attempt to get away. Santa Cruz Police Officers quickly set up a perimeter and search. Minutes later the suspect was caught. Video surveillance also captured images of Jared Foster jumping over another gated fence onto a storage property in a attempt to hide from pursuing officers.

Jared Michael Foster was on active probation at the time of this incident. He was arrested for possession of stolen property, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, possession of stolen identification and violation of probation.

Incident #2

On Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at about 1:08 a.m., the Santa Cruz Police responded to a call from a resident in the 100 block of Alamo Avenue reporting that her car had just been stolen out of her driveway. The victim heard the car alarm sound from her black BMW 325i.  She looked out the window and saw her car being driven away northbound on Alamo Ave. Officers responded immediately to the area and began to search for the suspect.

Within minutes, an SCPD Officer anticipating the exact route the suspect may have taken spotted the car travelling on Mission Street. The stolen BMW passed him going in the opposite direction. The Officer made a quick U-turn and attempted to catch up to the BMW as it drove down Laurent Street.
Jared Norris, 20, transient from Santa Cruz 
The suspect later identified as Jared Norris abruptly stopped the car on California Street.  Norris then abandoned the car in an attempt to get away. The SCPD Officer chased after the suspect. The suspect was detained by the SCPD Officer at gun point.

The investigation revealed that the Jared Norris had a spare key to the BMW in his possession which was stolen from victim last year.

Jared Norris, 20, transient from Santa Cruz was arrested for vehicle theft, reckless driving, resisting arrest and possession of stolen property.

January 14, 2016

Drug Bust takes wanted felon & ¾ lbs. of Crystal Meth valued at $27,000 off Santa Cruz Streets.

On Saturday 1/9/16, SCPD Officers and Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) arrested a high-risk wanted felon and his associate. Both were suspected of transporting and selling large quantities of narcotics in the city of Santa Cruz.

SCPD confiscated 3/4 lbs of crystal meth valued $27,000 & $1000 in cash 
SCPD Officers working with NET located and arrested Adrian Puga, 32 from Watsonville and his girlfriend Selene Bazarnick, 33, from Santa Cruz at a storage locker on Mission St. Extension.

SCPD Officers and SCPD K-9 Unit conducted a search of the storage unit and cars associated with Adrian Puga and Selene Bazarnick. During the search, approximately ¾ of a pound of suspected crystal methamphetamine was located in the storage locker and vehicles.

The amount of crystal methamphetamine broken down into grams will produce approximately 340.19 grams. It has a street value of over $27,000. Additionally, $1,000 in cash of suspected narcotics profit was found during the search.

Adrian Puga, 32, Watsonvile resident
Adrian Puga was taken into custody for an outstanding felony warrant for failing to comply with the terms of his Post Release Community Supervision (AB109) and various narcotics related charges.
Selene Bazarnick, 33, Santa Cruz resident 
Selene Bazarnick was taken into custody for possession of suspected methamphetamine and a small quantity of heroin. She was also charged with violating the terms of her probation.

This couple has had multiple contacts with law enforcement. In March 2014, Adrian Puga and Selene Bazarnick were arrested
with heroin, methamphetamine, prescription pills, and marijuana for sale. They also had in their possession a stolen gun.

Please continue to contact SCPD when suspicious activity occurs in your neighborhood. 

The Santa Cruz Police Neighborhood Enforcement Team is specialized unit. NET works as a team to focus on mid to long-term issues often times associated with gangs, drugs and other chronic problems throughout the City of Santa Cruz.

SCPD is dedicated to our community with ongoing efforts to keep Santa Cruz a safe place to live, work and raise a family.