Local News

Suspects in Santa Maria String of Car Burglaries Arrested

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Two Santa Maria men alleged to be responsible for numerous "window smash" car burglaries throughout the Santa Maria Valley, are behind bars.

24-year-old Daniel Castro and 19-year-old Salvador Perez are facing a slew of charges, which include: conspiracy, burglary, vehicle theft, arson, possession of stolen property, identity theft, and being felons in possession of a firearm. A third suspect in the case is being sought by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies arrested the pair on Aug. 23 following a month-long investigation. Authorities found stolen property at each of the two locations they served search warrants for. While Castro's car was being processed for evidence, authorities say deputies found a stolen, and loaded, 9mm handgun.

"Further investigation by our deputies revealed that Castro and Perez were also involved in additional crimes including vehicle theft, arson and commercial burglary," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover.

The Sheriff's Office is hoping the public may recognize the third suspect, pictures in the surveillance photo below. That suspect was last seen wearing a black hat. Anyone with information on the suspect's whereabouts or recognizes the individual pictured in the surveillance photo, is asked to call the Santa Maria Sheriff's Station at 805-934-6150.

During the car burglaries, the suspects broke into the cars by breaking the window to gain access. Numerous purses, wallets and other personal property was taken.

"The suspects subsequently used credit cards stolen during these thefts, to make numerous purchases at local businesses throughout the Santa Maria Valley," said Hoover.

Kelly Osumi is one of those victims.

"Couple weeks ago, my husband and I and a friend, we went out to hike at Point Sal," Car burglary victim Kelly Osumi said.

A friend alerted Osumi that something wasn't quite right with their car.

"They said your windows have been shattered and we were like no way and they said yea there's three other cars also that have been broken into so we were hoping it was just vandalism and that they had just broken the windows," Osumi said.

But it was more than just vandalism - Osumi says they got away with her purse, ID, bank info and her husband's backpack that had valuables in it.

Both, Castro and Perez were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail. Perez is out on $50,000 bail and Castro is being held without bail for a probation violation.