A Santa Barbara gang member whom police call a “prolific auto burglar” is back on the streets after being released early from the overcrowded County Jail on December 20. Cameron Hadighi, 25, served a portion of his 120-day sentence for vehicle tampering and prowling. He had pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges.
Hadighi’s most recent arrest on October 30 was the latest in a long string of run-ins with the Santa Barbara Police Department, which has played cat and mouse with the repeat offender during the last few years. During the incident, a man working at an upper State Street business saw Hadighi open the unlocked driver’s door of his truck and start to go inside. The man confronted Hadighi, who fled the scene. Officers soon located Hadighi running across nearby rooftops and arrested him. He was on probation at the time.
On April 28, 2012, Hadighi was arrested for felony burglary and misdemeanor resisting arrest. Police said he had smashed the windows of two cars parked on Helena Avenue and stolen a wine opener and pocket change. When officers responded to calls of a man with blood on his hands along nearby Yanonali Street, they contacted and detained Hadighi. As paramedics tended to a cut on his hand, he tried to run away but was quickly subdued. After he was placed in the back of a police cruiser, he spit at an officer and kicked out a rear window.
Hadighi was sentenced to two years in state prison in that case. He served less than a year in County Jail due to the state’s new incarceration guidelines and was ordered into a one-year residential treatment program.
The April 2012 arrest came three months after he was convicted of four felonies — two counts of second degree auto burglary, one count of receiving stolen property, and one count of attempted vehicle theft — in a January 2012 case. Detectives with SBPD’s property-crimes unit had received a call from a theft victim who said he was using GPS software to track his stolen iPad. The detectives traced the device to Hadighi’s residence; he admitted to stealing it and possessed a number of other stolen items. Further investigation revealed Hadighi was responsible for five recent auto burglaries, and he is suspected of committing as many as 40 more during a two-month span last year.