May 2, 2016

SCPD Officers follow counterfeit trail & arrest two subjects using phony money.

Early Sunday afternoon, an SCPD Officer responded to a local restaurant for a report of two women who passed off a counterfeit $20.00 bill. They were in the process of another cash transaction when the employee suspected that the money was fake. The two women ran away to a waiting car and drove away.

A few hours later, another SCPD Officer responded to the same type of call at another business in the City of Santa Cruz. Perfect timing because our SCPD Officers had  just finished a meeting detailing the first counterfeit call from earlier in the day. The women were caught in the act and detained at the local business . Ajani Laws, 18 years old from Pittsburg , CA and a female juvenile, 17 years old from Oakly, Ca were arrested for counterfeiting, exchanging counterfeit money and conspiracy to commit a crime.

          Ajani Laws, 18 years old from Pittsburg , CA

                                        Female juvenile, 17 years old from Oakley, CA 

Although these two were caught and arrested, they were in the company of a carload of visitors from the Bay Area visiting Santa Cruz.

The female juvenile was found to be in possession of
counterfeit $20.00 dollar bills amounting to hundreds of dollars. Here is how the scam worked – the suspect would buy a small item, give a $20.00 bill as payment and collect real money in change.
At first glance, these bills do look real. SCPD encourages the public and the business community to carefully examine the money you receive, especially larger denomination bills. Most counterfeit bills when examined closely are identifiable as counterfeit just by the poor quality of printing and misshaped or missing treasury seals. An easy way to check is the use of a Counterfeit Detector Pen.

SCPD believes there may be counterfeit bills still in circulation from these suspect's activity. If you encounter money that you suspect is phony, please report it by calling SCPD.

April 29, 2016

SCPD Media Release- Arrest in Child Pornography Investigation

On April 28, 2016, the Santa Cruz Police Department concluded a months-long child pornography investigation with the arrest of Mr. Jonathan Wells, 43 years old Soquel resident. Mr. Wells works as a metal shop worker in San Jose.
Jonathan Wells, 43 years old ,Soquel resident
The investigation began in late December 2015, where SCPD investigators accessed a network suspected of distributing child pornography. Over the following months, detectives used an undercover identity and were able to access shared files containing child pornography on the network. This included child pornography files being shared by Mr. Wells.

Through continued investigation, Detectives were able to identify Mr. Wells as a source of the child pornography files shared on the network. On April 28th, SCPD Detectives served a search warrant and arrested Mr. Wells at his home in the 3700 block of Vista Drive in Soquel. Detectives seized a number of computers and external drives that were used to download and/or provide child pornography on the network.

Mr. Wells confessed to both downloading child pornography as well as making files available for sharing on the network. Mr. Wells was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail for Possession of Child Pornography.

During the search warrant, Detectives seized 39 firearms from Mr. Wells’ home. The firearms included 6 handguns,
two assault style rifles, large caliber rifles and an assorted collection of black powder firearms.
Investigators are looking into the whether the firearms were legally owned by Mr. Wells.

The Santa Cruz Police Department is an affiliate agency of the Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (ICAC). As such, we work with the ICAC taskforce both proactively and reactively to investigate criminals who are engaged in the sexual exploitation of children. The discovery of this network was the result of a proactive operation by the Santa Cruz Police Department.    

April 28, 2016

Alert Citizens Lead to Prowler Arrest + Recovered Property

Early yesterday 4/27/16 morning at about 5:30 am, a resident reported seeing a suspected car prowler rummaging through a car parked in the driveway. As an SCPD Patrol Officer was en route, two members from the household followed the suspected prowler as he walked away up High Street.
                                  Echo Lemke, 18 years old, from Santa Cruz 
The SCPD Officer quickly caught up with the suspect at Cardiff and High Streets.  Echo Lemke, 18 years old, from Santa Cruz was contacted and detained. The Officer asked Echo Lemke why was he inside the car. Mr. Lemke explained that he was looking through the victim’s car because he was “looking for a friend’s jacket”. 

Echo Lemke was taken into custody. He possessed stolen property from the victim’s car in his backpack. Mr. Lemke also had a stolen wallet, prescriptions and a skateboard in his possession from another car burglary case. Additionally, the Officer recovered a camera that does not belong to Mr. Lemke. 

The camera had photos of this family enjoying a wonderful vacation. Do you recognize this family? SCPD would very much like to get the camera back to the rightful owner. Please contact SCPD at 831-420-5800 refer to case 16S-03495. 

Echo Lemke was arrested for tampering with a vehicle, theft, and an outstanding bench warrant.

The #1 tip to stop car prowlers is to LOCK YOU CAR.   Click here for more steps to Car Prowl Prevention.

April 24, 2016

SCPD Traffic Section Works Hard To Make Your Roads Safer

SCPD Traffic Section patrolled in a multi-agency operation this week to target unsafe drivers and cyclists.
In one shift alone, 125 citations were issued for a variety of infractions. The top 3 cites were; cars speeding, cyclists running through stop sign & red lights, and drivers running stop signs.

The entire operation was conducted in an area heavily populated by pedestrians.  This enforcement effort also had a side benefit through an awareness and education for those commuting through neighborhood and school pathways.
This little guy gave our SCPD Traffic Sgt. the best Hi-Five of the day! 
SCPD Traffic Section were partnered with UCSC PD, Capitola PD and CHP Santa Cruz during this targeted traffic enforcement.

If you have a traffic concern in your neighborhood, click here to send a message directly to our SCPD Traffic Section. 
The Santa Cruz Police Department continues to encourage residents to be partners in public safety.

April 18, 2016

Vandalism Suspect Breaks Hole In Glass Door and Climbs Out

Believe it or not this video caught a vandalism suspect who broke a hole in a glass door. Watch him as he climbs out of the hole and runs away!
On Sunday 4/17/16 at approximately 11:30 pm, SCPD responded to a report from concerned citizen about a person breaking a hole through a glass door from INSIDE a store on the 400 block of Front Street. While one witness was on the phone with 911, another witness had the calm presence of mind to video the suspect’s escape through the broken glass door with a cell phone. After the suspect crawled out of the hole in the door, he ran northbound on Front Street.
Anthony Starr, 20 years old, transient from Santa Cruz
The next morning SCPD Officers found the suspect Anthony Starr, 20 years old, transient from Santa Cruz sleeping in a doorway on Soquel and Front St. Mr. Starr had several blood stains on the outside on his jacket and a fresh cut on his right hand. When Mr. Starr woke up he claimed that he had dreamed about being locked in a store and having to break glass to get out. The Officer advised him it was not a dream.

Anthony Starr was arrested for felony vandalism.

April 13, 2016

Surf City Exchange Club Honors Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year

Congratulations to Detective Dan Forbus and Firefighter Matt Haut.  Both were honored at the annual Blue and Gold Banquet hosted by the Surf City Exchange Club on Friday night at the CPDES Hall. 

Police and Fire teams were treated to a great dinner, great company and great entertainment by our host.  Special thanks go to out Steve Arnold and Johnny Fabulous. 
Steve Arnold and Johnny Fabulous Headlining the Show
This marked the 4th year that the Surf City Exchange Club has honored us with the Blue and Gold banquet.

The recipients of this award are selected by their peers at their respective departments.  Firefighter Matt Haut was recognized by his peers for his tireless service to our community.  Not only is he a paramedic on the Engine, Matt is a certified rescue swimmer, Fireboat Pilot, and SWAT Medic.  All of these roles requires years of dedicated training and expertise.  Congratulations Matt!

Firefighter Matt Haut Accepts His Well-Deserved Award
Detective Dan Forbus is a highly skilled investigator and oftentimes at the heart of the major and most serious cases affecting the Santa Cruz community.  Dan is a Santa Cruz local with a family tradition steeped in law enforcement by his father retired Deputy Don Forbus and his older brother Sergeant Dave Forbus. 

Sergeant Dave Forbus proud of his brother Dan

In addition to his experience from numerous assignments at the police department, Dan excels as a teacher and mentor.  Dan gives back to the community by working with high school students as a Criminal Justice ROP instructor.  He also volunteers to teach in the department’s PRIDE Program, Teen Public Safety Academy and Citizen’s Academies.  

In nominating him for the award, Dan’s peers described him as dedicated, hard-working, leads by example, the first to lend a hand, always looking to better himself and those around him.   Pretty impressive praise from an amazing group of peers.  

We had a ton of fun throughout an evening filled with friendship, camaraderie, laughter and hijinks.   
Special thanks to our own Steve Pendleton who worked hard to help coordinate the efforts.  Apparently, he was also in charge of selfie-patrol:
Steve with the Records Team

Steve with Joyce

Steve with the Chief
Thank you Surf City Exchange Club, for your generosity and dedication to public safety.

Since the formation of the first Exchange Club in 1911, in Detroit, the Exchange Clubs have been dedicated to service and strong social values.  Our very own Surf City Exchange Club includes in their mission statement, “To make our community a better place to live”.   Thank You Exchange Club for all you do.    

April 12, 2016

Help us Identify This Stabbing Suspect

The Santa Cruz Police Department is trying to identify the suspect and his female companion shown in the video below.  

The suspect is wearing the white shirt and black pants.  He is described as a Hispanic Male Adult, 23 - 29 years old, approx 5 feet 10 inches.  His hair is described as black and worn in a long mullet style.  

The female companion is seen walking across the frame ahead of the suspect.  She is wearing the blue cap, blue shirt and blue pants.  She is carrying something in her hands. 
  • The suspect follows his female companion, walking northbound on Riverside Avenue. 
  • The suspect appears to be having a verbal exchange with someone behind him.  
  • The suspect walks across the screen and out of view.  
  • The victim appears on screen following the suspect.  
  • The suspect reappears at time counter 20:44:57 and stabs the victim in what looks like a punch to the stomach.   

The victim was eventually transported to the hospital by his companions.  He is recovering at a Bay Area trauma center.  Initially, they reported the stabbing occurred in the County.  Officers were able to track down the actual location and eventually obtained this video.  

WARNING - Violent Content
Although not graphic, the video does show the victim being stabbed in what looks like a punch.  

If you recognize the suspect or his companion please call SCPD Investigations at (831) 420-5820. Refer to Case #16S-02950.