Suspect arrested after he approached man at ATM while armed with a knife

ORCUTT, Calif. - An Orcutt man was arrested earlier this month after authorities say he approached a man at an ATM while armed with a large knife.

The incident took place on November 6, at around 2 p.m.

The suspect approached the man, who was withdrawing cash from an ATM at Wells Fargo, pulled out a 12-inch knife and attempted to rob the man. The man was able to escape, but left his ATM card behind.

Deputies approached the suspect with their guns drawn as the man threw the knife in the garbage. He was apprehended and arrested.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies were already in the area after multiple reported seeing a suspicious suspect who matched the description.

Deputies searched the garbage where the man had discarded the knife 12-inch and found a locked butterfly knife with a four-inch blade. He was also found to be in possession of methamphetamine.

The suspect has been identified as Michael Fernandez, 23, of Orcutt.

Fernandez was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on a $40,000 bail. He will likely face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office has released a list of tips and suggestions for residents to protect themselves while using the ATM.

  1. Keep spare deposit slips and envelopes at home.  Complete any paperwork before going to the ATM area.
  2. Do not use ATMs near the corners of buildings.  Do not use ATMs that provide other avenues for suspects to approach unnoticed.  Do not use ATMs that have nearby hiding places or that do not have adequate security lighting.
  3. Be alert when approaching and while using an ATM.  Appear confident and look slowly around the area as you approach.  Continue routinely looking around while interacting with the ATM.  Look for people sitting in cars, loitering in the area, or who approach.  If you feel nervous or uncomfortable at any point, follow your instincts, avoid the ATM, cancel the transaction, and/or leave immediately as appropriate.
  4. Do not carry money or envelopes in open view to the ATM.  Do not count money at the ATM. Put it away and leave immediately upon completion of your transaction.  Remain alert and continue to look around the area.  Do not remain in your vehicle after using an ATM.  Leave immediately.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office credits the residents who contacted authorities about the suspicious subject. If you see something suspicious it's always a good idea to call 9-1-1.

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