Law and Disorder 4-2

The University of Southern California campus is mourning the loss of Adrianna Bachan, a student killed by a hit-and-run driver near the campus on 3/29. Bachan grew up in Montecito and played soccer for Santa Barbara High School. Her mother, Carmen Bachan, has been vocal in asking possible witnesses to the hit-and-run to offer any helpful information to the Los Angeles Police Department that could lead to the arrest of the driver of the black sedan that killed her daughter and injured another person. (/bachan42)


The Santa Barbara Police Department secured a $400,000 federal grant benefiting gang prevention and intervention efforts this summer. The funds will be shared by the multi-jurisdictional group of South Coast agencies that sprang up to fight gang violence. Last year’s effort to target 100 high-risk youth for special attention benefited from no outside funding. This year, social workers will be hired to help prospective gang members gain skills to acquire and keep jobs. (/gangs42)


On 3/25, Ricardo Juarez, Ruben Mize, and Ivan Romero each pled not guilty to charges stemming from a February gang-related assault on 15-year-old Daniel Cervantes at Santa Maria Juvenile Hall. At the time of the assault, Juarez, Mize, and Cervantes were all in Juvenile Hall facing murder charges. Romero was in Juvenile Hall facing undisclosed charges. The three defendants will appear in court again on September 23 for a preliminary hearing. (/assault42)


Lawyers for James Biela-the man accused of killing and raping Santa Barbara City College student Brianna Denison in early 2008 and sexually assaulting two other women-have filed a motion asking for three separate trials on each of the charges. Public defender Richard Davies argued community perception of James Biela’s guilt in Denison’s murder would influence a jury’s verdict on the two other charges. A hearing was scheduled for 4/17.


On 3/26, a 23-year-old Ventura man was arrested on charges of being one of two men responsible for the stabbing of a 21-year-old man on 3/17. According to police, the altercation resulted from an argument between the stabbed man, the Ventura man, and a third man about a noisy party on Oceano Avenue. The police also determined that the Ventura man had been involved in a 2/13 robbery on the 1900 block of Cliff Drive. (/stabbing42)


Detectives from the Santa Barbara Police Department are searching for a man who allegedly assaulted a woman on the 500 block of North Quarantina Street on 3/29. The woman reported feeling someone climb into bed with her. She said her boyfriend had fallen asleep on the couch, and she thought it was him, but quickly discovered that it was not. The man-described as a Hispanic male with a shaved head in his twenties-fled.


Deciding that the heat was too much, a group of young soccer players ditched their pickup game on Santa Barbara’s Eastside to cool off in the Santa Barbara High School pool on 3/28. They got more heat than they bargained for, however: They were spotted and tracked by a police helicopter. Police said the swimmers were given a warning by a unit on the ground and sent on their way.


After a 26-year-old woman failed to return home from a hike to La Cumbre Peak via the Cathedral Peak Trail by the evening on 3/27, her family called for help. The Santa Barbara Search and Rescue Team was dispatched shortly afterward and found her stranded on a steep cliff. The team escorted the woman down to the trailhead using ropes. There were no reports of injury. (/rescue42)


The FBI and law enforcement agencies statewide are seeking the public’s help in the effort to identify and apprehend the “Sleeves Bandit,” a man wanted for robbing at least 15 banks in the last five months, including three in the Santa Barbara area. Witnesses describe the man as being in his mid fifties and often wearing fake tattoo sleeves during his robberies. (See images of the suspect at


The Santa Barbara Police Department applied for a federal grant to cover the costs of four officers. Currently, the department is planning to cut five sworn positions-including DARE and PAL (Police Activities League) program coordinators-as well as eight non-sworn posts-including a lab technician and animal control officer-in response to the city’s budget shortfall. Obtaining the grant could preserve the positions. Any police cuts promise to be politically contentious. (/police42)

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