Since December, officials say there have been 51 thefts from cars in the Santa Ynez Valley. Since the first of that month, items were stolen from 44 cars in the Orcutt area. About 25 of those cars had their windows smashed, according to a Friday Sheriff’s Office press release; the remaining cars had been left unlocked. Since December 20, property from seven cars — mostly unlocked — was similarly taken in Los Alamos. In all incidents, the targeted cars had valuable items in plain sight.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, the most recent string of thefts from Santa Ynez Valley cars took place on January 10 near Alice Shaw Elementary School in Orcutt. Two cars on Dahlia Place and one each on Pauline Court and Larchmont Court were robbed via broken windows.
Just after midnight on Saturday, January 16, Sheriff’s deputies apprehended two male suspects who were reportedly “looking into vehicles with flashlights,” said Sheriff’s officials. Ray Dulany, 27, a Santa Maria transient, and Jesse Medina, 36, of Nipomo, reportedly possessed burglary tools, according the Sheriff’s Office release. “A vehicle associated with the suspects was located with stolen property connected to thefts from autos in Orcutt, Solvang, and Arroyo Grande.”
Dulany and Medina were taken to County Jail. They were cite-released later that day. The Sheriff’s Office reminds residents to never leave valuables — including garage openers, drivers’ licenses, car keys, and car registration — in plain sight, and to report suspicious activity at 9-1-1. Those with information about any of the recent thefts from cars may call the Sheriff’s Office (805) 683-2724 or the anonymous tip line at (805) 681-4171.