June 24, 2016

Help Identify Suspects Who Crashed Stolen Car Into Store And Stole ATM Machine

SCPD is asking for the public's help to identify the suspects shown in this video. Burglars use a stolen car to crash through the front of a mini-mart and steal the ATM machine.
On Wednesday June 22, 2016 at approximately 3:48 a.m., Santa Cruz Police patrol officers responded to the 800 block of Water Street for an alarm call at DJ’s Minimart. Officers arrived and found the front glass doors and a glass wall pane had been smashed in. The ATM machine was missing from where it was bolted to the floor near the front doors.
Store surveillance video shows a gray colored Honda Accord station wagon intentionally crashing into the store front. The car then pulled forward as two suspects rushed in through the smashed entryway and attempted to pull out the ATM machine. The driver, a third suspect, appears and they struggle trying to remove the ATM. Unable to pull the ATM free, the driver got back in the car and rammed the back end of the wagon into the ATM machine. The ATM was knocked free and the suspects lifted it into the back of the wagon and drove away northbound on Branciforte Avenue.
At approximately 7:45 a.m., Officers recovered the stolen station wagon abandoned in a driveway on the 2000 block of Soquel Avenue and the stolen ATM machine was gone.
The suspects appeared to be three males of unknown race. Two were wearing grey hoodies with the hoods up over their heads. The third was wearing a dark jacket and orange beanie style hat.
Anyone with information relative to the suspect’s identity is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department Investigation Unit at (831) 420-5820 or Anonymous Tip Line (831) 420-5995.

June 21, 2016

Press Release: Child Molester Arrested

On Friday June 17, 2016, Santa Cruz Police Detectives arrested suspect Timothy Ritchison for inappropriate lewd and lascivious acts with a child. The victim is a preschool age female. The suspect was known and trusted by the family. Santa Cruz Police Detectives worked tirelessly to investigate this case which led them to El Dorado CA and the arrest of Timothy Ritchison – 47 years old.
      Timothy Ritchison, 47 years old from El Dorado CA
The case came to light at approximately 7:45pm on Thursday 6/16/16 when Santa Cruz Police Officers responded to a report of a car burglary. Officers learned that the reporting party was the victim’s mother. The mother had discovered video evidence of the suspect Timothy Ritchison molesting her child. The shocked and distraught mother confronted Mr. Ritchison with the video and then fled in her car to an acquaintances home to call the police. While the mother and child were in the home, the suspect Timothy Ritchison shattered the passenger side window and stole the video evidence from the car. He then drove away from the scene in his white 2006 Buick sedan.

The location of the incident and age of the victims are not being disclosed to protect their identities.

The successful and efficient investigation included a collaborative effort with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department. Santa Cruz Police Detectives worked throughout the night investigating the perpetrator and his whereabouts. A search warrant was served at Mr. Ritchison’s residence and car. The suspect Timothy Ritchison was in custody by 7:15 am on 6/17/16.

In the following interviews with detectives, Mr. Ritchison confessed to the molestation. He gave multiple corroborating statements consistent with the victim’s allegations.

Timothy Ritchison was arrested and booked into the El Dorado County Jail and extradited to the Santa Cruz County Jail on a $250,000 bail. Mr. Ritchison was arrested for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor.

Detectives are continuing to sort through evidence to determine if there are additional victims. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department Investigations Unit at (831) 420-5820.

June 17, 2016

Help Us Identify Vandalism Suspect

Our community is amazing at providing us tips and helping us identify suspects from video and photos posted on our blog.  Here is another one to test your detective skills.  

On June 5th at about 1:45 AM our suspect approached the CVS store at 600 Front Street.  After discovering the store was closed and the doors were locked, the suspect kicked the door.  The kick resulted in the lower glass pane breaking. 

The incident is caught on video which was eventually turned over to our officer.  Click below to take a look at the video:

Here are a couple of still shots from the video:

The suspect was described by witnesses as a African American male, approximately 20-30 years, Afro style hair, wearing a maroon hoody style sweatshirt and black pants.  

If you recognize this person, please let us know.  Refer to Case #16S-04682.   You can also drop us a tip by the methods listed below. 

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Santa Cruz Police Department Investigations Unit (831) 420-5820.  Anonymous tips can also be sent to the police department through our Tip Line (831) 420-5995, or from our Website; www.santacruzpolice.com .  Tipsters can also submit an anonymous tip via our smartphone app or from an SMS text.  Visit our Website for instructions.

June 16, 2016

SCPD Proud to Support and Carry the Torch for Special Olympics Northern California

SCPD was proud to once again carry the Torch for the  Special Olympics Northern California.  
The SCPD team picked up the Torch at the city limits from the Sheriff's Office.  We carried the Torch through Santa Cruz and eventually handed it off a team from the District Attorney's Office at the County Government Center who were going to carry it to Scotts Valley.      
It was a Beautiful Day to Showoff the Torch
The Torch will wind its way through California until it reaches the final destination of Davis, CA for the opening of the Summer Games taking place on the weekend of June 24th.  

Our Team Leader, Sergeant Mike Harms
Downtown Welcomes the Torch

The Law Enforcement Torch Run began in 1981 as a way to raise awareness and sponsorship for the Special Olympics.  SCPD has participated every year since the inception.  Charged with being “Guardians of the Flame”, law enforcement officers carry the torch throughout California handing it off in each jurisdiction. 
The official handoff to the District Attorney's Team
The Law Enforcement Torch Run is not only a nationwide event, but also an international event with all 50 states and more than 35 foreign countries participating. 

This event has raised over $100,000,000 worldwide for Special Olympics.  

June 15, 2016

Santa Cruz Police Department 2015 Annual Report Released


Dear Friends and Colleagues: 

It is my pleasure to present the Santa Cruz Police Department’s 2015 Annual Report.  This is the first annual report that our agency has produced in my tenure with the Santa Cruz Police Department, which spans over 29 years.  We are excited to provide information from the past year about our organization and the service that our dedicated and hard-working women and men of the Santa Cruz Police Department provide to our community every day.  The staff of the Santa Cruz Police Department continues to partner with community members, city government, area law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders to improve the quality of life in our community by providing high quality, professional police services.

Our police department continues to increase capacity and grow stronger following the economic downturn that began in 2008.  The police department is at nearly full-strength with 93 sworn positions currently filled.  Staffing levels have not been like this in quite some time.  We continue to look for ways to be more effective and strategic in our efforts to bring you the finest in public safety service.

I encourage you to take time to read our annual report.  It contains a wealth of information about our police department. I trust that you will find it both interesting and informative. 


Kevin Vogel
Chief of Police

June 7, 2016

Celebrating the Graduation of Our 9th P.R.I.D.E . Class

Last week, Santa Cruz Police Department celebrated the successful graduation of 21 youths from the P.R.I.D.E . program. This marks the 9th graduating class for P.R.I.D.E. 

Lt. Flippo and Officer Gomez pose for a picture with P.R.I.D.E. graduate

Full house of family and friends in SCPD Community room at P.R.I.D.E. graduation
Working in conjunction with Santa Cruz City Schools and the County Office of Education, the program is a multi-faceted approach to support local intermediate school-aged kids.

On a field trip to the Google Complex

Checking out a career in aviation at the Watsonville Airport
The PRIDE program is a prevention and intervention course for middle school youth between the ages of 12 and 15, designed to help students understand how their current life choices impact their future.
Participants are given the opportunity to reflect upon the direction of their lives and the consequences of their choices.
The program is voluntary and free of charge, and its activities include guest speakers, mentors connections, parental involvement and recreational outings to help participants make decisions that lead to healthy and productive lives.
Sessions are held in the afternoons every Wednesday, with additional weekend field trips.
New this year, mentor recruitment seminar at UCSC. Great turn out from the university students. Thank you UCSC mentors!
The improved 2016 session of PRIDE concluded on June 1st and expanded from 11 weeks of activities to a school year-long program.
Additionally, the number of participants doubled from 10 students to 21. The program was further upgraded with the valuable addition of 15 mentors who are currently enrolled in undergraduate studies at UCSC.
Congratulations 2016 P.R.I.D.E. Graduates! Thank you P.R.I.D.E. mentors and community businesses for supporting our youth.

If you'd like to learn more about the program or become a mentor, visit our department's website or contact Community Services at (831) 420-5952

June 6, 2016

Press Release: Arrest in Vehicle Pedestrian Hit & Run 6/5/16

On Sunday, June 5, 2016 at approximately 4:35pm, Santa Cruz Police officers responded to a report of a hit and run collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian at Bay Drive and High Street. SCPD Officers and rescue personnel arrived and found a 21 year old UCSC student had been stuck by a passing vehicle. The vehicle fled the scene and did not stop to render assistance to the victim. The victim was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Witnesses provided crucial information describing a white sedan that struck the pedestrian and the direction in which the car sped away. SCPD Officers quickly located a white Chevrolet Malibu with front end damage heading eastbound in the area of Mission St. and Chestnut St.
The driver of Chevy Malibu is 33 year old, Juan Castillo from Watsonville. The preliminary investigation indicates that pedestrian was in the crosswalk at the intersection of Bay Drive and High Street. The vehicle was traveling eastbound on High Street when the driver struck the pedestrian.

Juan Castillo was arrested for hit and run and driving without a license. 

The case detailed above is a separate incident not related to the fatal hit and run reported by Santa Cruz CHP on the same day.
On 6-5-16 at approximately 7:15 pm, there was a fatal hit and run collision on southbound Highway 1 south of River St. A motorcycle rider struck a concrete wall, then may have been struck by an unknown vehicle.

Santa Cruz CHP are asking for assistance from the public. Anyone who witnessed the collision or has information about the crash is asked to call the Santa Cruz CHP office at 831-662-0511