This week, we’ve got a lot on our collective plate to talk about. We’re discussing the Santa Cruz correctional officer arrested for sexual assault on an inmate, an 11 hour standoff in Watsonville, sexual predator arrested at downtown library, more ROR failure from our local courts, county probation keeps feeding us more criminal behavior, true love, car thieves arrested on Ocean, tweeker mail thief busted, Moron Beach, I wonder where he got those syringes, home rager in Watsonville, Santa Cruz forgets to march, gun buy back in Santa Cruz, Downtown Commission wants new rules downtown, the Happy Story of the Week, and more!
Santa Cruz County Correctional Officer Arrested For Sexually Assaulting Inmate
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office announced on Thursday morning that a 29 year old correctional officer was arrested for having sex with an inmate. Because jail inmates cannot legally give consent, it is considered sexual assault so the man faces felony charges of rape. The Sheriff’s Office said the male correctional officer, who worked for the county jail for the past 4 years, was fired for having sex with a female inmate in July of 2017. Rumors around the jail swirled about the sexual relationship but jail management didn’t act until November of last year, when they began an investigation. He was released on $50,000 bail. He will be back in court on April 2nd for his arraignment. The case has been referred to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. The identity of the inmate was not released to protect her privacy.
The county jail is a hot mess, but it’s a county responsibility, and it involves public safety, so of course it’s a hot mess! Let’s not forget the Grand Jury’s own report “Another Death in Our Jail“. That was published in June of 2016. And then in July of 2017, we have correctional officers having sex with inmates. Obviously, the county has learned nothing from the report, or the constant stream of criticism from a very vocal community. They are tone deaf to public safety and can’t get their own “house” in order here. Our courts rarely punish people anymore. Our county probation department hands out “Get Out of Jail Free” cards like Halloween candy, and the county jail is a hot mess. Welcome to the new reality of Santa Cruz.
Mentally Ill Man Barricades Himself in Watsonville Home
An 11 hour standoff with police at a home in Watsonville ended around 4AM on Tuesday when a 29 year old Watsonville man, who apparently suffers from a mental illness, was taken into custody after he reportedly attacked his 61 year old mother with a sledgehammer and chain spurs. The mother along with two small children were able to escape.
The attack happened around 5PM on Monday inside a home they both shared on the 100 block of Maranatha Drive. The suspect also ignited two fires inside and outside the home. When officers arrived, the suspect barricaded himself inside by pushing furniture against all of the doors, according to Watsonville police. After almost seven hours of failed attempts to convince the man to exit the house and surrender, chemicals were inserted into the house. The suspect began throwing household items, including light bulbs and dishes, at officers when Special Response Team members took him into custody with the assistance of a police dog and a Taser. Paramedics treated the suspect for injuries he suffered during his arrest, and he was later booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail on charges including assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats, child endangerment, and resisting arrest. Additional charges of attempted arson were also recommended.
Sexual Predator Arrested at Downtown Library
I got a tip this week that a well known, local sexual predator was arrested at the downtown public library. He was apparently arrested for a “parole violation” (could be any number of things) and as of earlier this week, he was in county jail on a no bail hold. In 2015, both a Santa Cruz County prosecutor and a public defender expressed concern about the same man, who attacked a woman in Santa Cruz. In July of 2013, he was arrested for felony false imprisonment and felony attempted sexual penetration after he chased two women on Beach Street. He tried to sexually attack one of them before another man intervened and police arrived.
The suspect spent nine months in Atascadero State Hospital where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression and other mental health problems, according to his public defender at the time. Recently, Judge Timothy Volkmann sentenced the suspect to register as a sex offender and serve four years in state prison. However, the suspect’s good behavior and time spent in Atascadero and County Jail meant he already had served the equivalent of that time.
Released on His Own Recognizance and Commits More Felonies
Last Saturday night around 7:30PM, SCPD was patrolling the area of the 800 block of Water Street where they saw a male they knew had two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest. In addition to the two felony warrants, the car he was driving was reported stolen earlier in the day. SCPD initiated a vehicle stop in the Jack in the Box parking lot on Ocean street. The man was taken into custody without incident and arrested for his two felony warrants, possession of a stolen vehicle, driving a motor vehicle while addicted to drugs, possession of stolen property, being released on his recognizance and committing a felony, as well as other misdemeanor drug and theft-related charges. Earlier this month, SCPD highlighted a case where the same man was arrested for felony possession of stolen property.
County Probation Keeps Feeding Us More Criminal Behavior
During a probation search last Tuesday night on a male suspect in the parking lot of the Inn at Pasatiempo, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s deputy found heroin, drug paraphernalia, graffiti tools, a notebook with the moniker “Lerk” written on the cover, burglary tools and a bike believed to be stolen. The suspect was arrested and booked into jail for a variety of crimes. Thanks to social media, the bike was returned to it’s original owner as well.
Felon on County Probation for Robbery Found With Burglary Tools
A Santa Cruz felon on probation for burglary was arrested this past week after Santa Cruz Deputies found him in possession of pepper spray and burglary tools. A Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Deputy found several people including the suspect behind King’s Paint. Officials say the suspect was found to be on probation for robbery with search terms. The suspect was arrested and booked into the County Jail for being a felon in possession of pepper spray and burglary tools. So we all know what’s next here. Double secret probation!
Last Saturday night, CHP Officers responded to the Felton Fair Shopping Center for a non-injury collision involving a vehicle that apparently rear ended a Santa Cruz metro bus. During the investigation, CHP Officers arrested a 50 year old woman for DUI. After learning his wife was involved in a collision, her 50 year old husband, who was also under the influence, drove into the parking lot and was also arrested for DUI.
Car Thieves Arrested on Ocean Street
Around 2:30AM on Wednesday morning, an SCPD patrol officer spotted an occupied stolen vehicle on Ocean Street near May and Washburn Avenues. Inside the car was a 29 year old female from Gilroy and a 28 year old male from Santa Cruz. Multiple units responded and made a high-risk stop with guns drawn. Both suspects had outstanding warrants, and they were both booked into county jail for vehicle theft, outstanding warrants, and possession of drug paraphernalia. According to SCPD, this was the fourth “suspect occupied” stolen vehicle recovered in less than 12 hours for them. I’d call that an out of control issue.
Tweeker Mail Thief Arrested
Early Tuesday morning, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped a vehicle for expired registration. The driver was found to be on probation so deputies searched his vehicle. They found several small baggies with heroin and methamphetamine, as well as eight opened pieces of mail which appeared to have been stolen from different addresses in Scotts Valley. The driver was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, heroin, paraphernalia, possession of stolen mail, and a probation violation.
It’s Moron Beach
On Wednesday night, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy was driving through the Moran Beach parking lot when he came across a vehicle occupied by 2 people. After approaching the vehicle, he noticed a methamphetamine pipe on the center console. After the male and female got out of the car, he was able to search the vehicle and found nearly an ounce of methamphetamine that was packaged for sales, along with four digital scales. He also recovered a stolen Microsoft tablet that was stolen last year in the city of Santa Cruz. He was arrested for possession of drugs for sale and possession of stolen property.
I Wonder Who Gave Him Those Syringes?
Thursday afternoon, a citizen called the Santa Cruz County Sheriffs department about a suspicious vehicle in the Soquel area. When deputies arrived, the suspected man in his vehicle lied about his identity, but they were able to determine his real name and found he had a felony warrant for his arrest. During a search of the vehicle, deputies located methamphetamine, a methamphetamine pipe, and a number of syringes. The man was arrested for his warrant as well as other new charges.
Home Rager Arrested in Watsonville
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call about a man who was trying to break down the door of a residence with a bat in the area of San Andreas Road in Watsonville. Deputies said that the man was a former acquaintance of the person living at the home. The suspect was apparently not able to gain access to the house and began smashing out nearby car windows instead. Deputies said the suspect left the area in a car but was spotted by another deputy who pulled him over. He was arrested and charged with attempted burglary, making criminal threats and vandalism.
Santa Cruz Doesn’t March While Everyone Else Does
Am I the only one who thought it was odd and surprising that there wasn’t a march/protest in downtown Santa Cruz this past Saturday while the rest of the country was throwing one en masse? I mean, we seemingly don’t really need a valid reason for throwing a march/protest/party/parade here. Sometimes it feels like we have a different one every weekend. I know there was something in Aptos, and something in San Jose (and San Francisco of course) but nothing in Santa Cruz! I’m not complaining. People that wanted to march could do so nearby, and downtown was nice and peaceful (relatively speaking). Someone told me nothing happened here because “organizers” couldn’t raise the money. Raise the money? All you have to do is show up and walk. Only in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz Buys Back 470 Guns
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office bought back 470 guns, including 17 “assault type weapons” during their gun buy back event last Saturday. There were two locations in Watsonville and Soquel. Within two hours, deputies collected hundreds of firearms, and gave out all $20,000 it had to distribute by noon. The firearms will be screened to see if any of them have been stolen and could be returned to their original owner. If they aren’t stolen, the guns will be destroyed.
Downtown Commission Wants More Parking Turnover on Pacific Avenue
Last Thursday, the Santa Cruz Downtown Commission passed two motions calling for a parking restriction on vehicles taller than 6 feet on Pacific Avenue and its adjacent streets from Laurel to Water streets, as well as measures to encourage shorter stays for all drivers on Pacific Avenue. The commission will need the Santa Cruz City Council to implement a downtown oversized vehicle limit first. Concerns were brought up by a downtown leaders group, highlighting issues such as large vehicles blocking business store fronts, long-term parking, vending out of vehicles and metered time limits on Pacific Avenue. Parking Program Manager Marlin Granlund was asked if there was more to the proposed changes, such as people sleeping in their vehicles or “because of that big truck that parks down there and has the loud music.”
Anyone who spends any considerable time downtown (like me) knows “that big truck” belongs to Curtis and his pop-up dance party on wheels. Curtis has a big heart and collects clothing and donations for the homeless, while driving around in his huge truck/trailer combo blasting out dance music. Apparently, Curtis has also accumulated 21 parking tickets, eight sound citations and lots of complaints.
The Happy Story of the Week
Friends of Parks and Recreation (FOPAR) is offering a limited number of scholarships to local kids for summer programs through the Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department. but the deadline to apply is coming up fast (as in next week!). If you know any families you think might be eligible and interested in participating, please let them know about this terrific opportunity. Go here to get details and more information!
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