A potential carjacking near Oak Park was thwarted this afternoon when a bystander rushed to the aid of a panicked woman and fended off two suspects with a pocketknife.
Santa Barbara police received a call at around 12:45 p.m. of a possible robbery or carjacking in a medical office parking lot across the street from Cottage Hospital. According to Sgt. Riley Harwood, the two suspects had approached the victim who was sitting in the driver’s seat of her Mercedes SUV. They said something to convince her to open her door. (Police did not disclose what was said.) As soon as she did, one of the suspects grabbed her arm and tried to yank her out, Harwood said. The woman began screaming and caught the attention of a male bystander.
The bystander, Harwood said, began tussling with the first suspect, who was described as a Hispanic male in his mid-40s, 5’5″ to 5’6″ tall, 140 pounds and wearing black pants, a black shirt, and a black hat. The second suspect, described as a medium-build Hispanic male in his mid-20s wearing a pink polo shirt and jeans, appeared ready to join the fight, so the bystander pulled out a pocketknife he was carrying, Harwood said. Both suspects soon fled in the direction of Oak Park, hopping fences along the way. The first suspect may have sustained a slash to his arm in the struggle.
Officers are still searching for the two men. Harwood said the woman sustained no injuries other than a bruise on her arm. The bystander was not harmed.