The Santa Cruz Police Department is constantly battling the up-hill struggle of arresting suspects involved in criminal activity and then dealing with them again shortly after they are released from custody. This last weekend SCPD arrested the same suspect within 14 hours of each other for petty theft and residential burglary.
On Friday April 18, 2015 the Santa Cruz Police Department responded to the 100 block of Van Ness for a report of a subject stealing a bike. A neighbor witnessed the suspect enter the backyard of a residence and tugging on a bike which was locked up. When the neighbor contacted the suspect, the suspect admitted to trying to steal the bike. SCPD was called and contacted the suspect who continued to tug on the bike. The bike was worth over $300. The suspect, identified as Benjamin Jeffrey Smith, was booked into jail for petty theft.
Smith was released from custody on Saturday April 19, 2015 at approximately 3:00 a.m. Not even 6 hours later Smith was back at it again, but this time trying to victimize a resident on the eastside of town.
At approximately 9:00 a.m., a neighbor witnessed Smith enter the backyard of a residence in the 200 block of Fairmount. The neighbor called the owner of the residence and notified them of the person in their backyard. The residents then witnessed Smith in their backyard and in their shed. It appeared Smith was trying to steal a bike and an air compressor. SCPD was called and contacted Smith in the backyard. Once again, Smith was booked into jail for residential burglary, loitering on private property, resisting arrest, and possession of a dirk or dagger. This time Smith's bail was increased from $25,000 to $35,000 and hopefully will remain in custody until he gets to speak to a Judge.
Smith has an extensive criminal history with SCPD. Just within the last year and a half, Smith has been arrested multiple times for offenses including residential burglary, vehicle burglary, petty theft, and possession of narcotics.
Based on how history repeats itself, we suspect that Smith will be out in our community fairly soon. Please keep an eye out for him. During the latter incident described above, Smith is believed to be associated with other thieves driving an older dirty white Ford Ranger regular cab pickup. Smith is currently transient.
Thanks to the great neighbors in both of these incidents for being watchful of their neighborhoods and immediately reporting suspicious activity. Both of these are great examples of the community working in collaboration with SCPD.