In the early Tuesday morning hours, three suspected carjackers and two additional suspects were arrested in Carpinteria after they reportedly stole a car at gunpoint in Burbank on Monday night, reports the Los Angeles Times and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Monday night, three men approached a man and woman who were sitting in their Kia Spectra on Sixth Street and Olive Avenue in the City of Burbank, said Burbank Police Sgt. Claudio Losacco. One male subject, reportedly armed with a gun, forced the two victims out of the car by threat and stole the 64-year-old woman’s purse. Two suspects fled the scene in the Kia and the third by way of a white Toyota Camry parked nearby, the L.A. Times reported.

John Connell

At about 2:20 a.m. on Tuesday, a Sheriff’s deputy ran the plates on a Kia Spectra carrying “three suspicious subjects” as it left a motel on the 5500 block of Carpinteria Avenue, according to the Sheriff’s Office press release. Discovering the plates matched those of a car reported stolen in the Burbank carjacking, the deputy tried to stop the car, which fled onto northbound Highway 101. Following the brief car pursuit, driver John Connell, 23, crashed the Kia while exiting at Santa Monica Road, said the Sheriff’s Office.

The Kia’s two passengers — Freddie Gutierrez, 24, of Carpinteria and Cynthia Alvarez, 18, of Santa Barbara — were immediately arrested, but Connell fled on foot toward Via Real. He was soon arrested after Sheriff’s K9 Aco and his handler, summoned to the location, found him hiding beneath a cargo trailer on the 4100 block of Via Real. Connell received minor injuries while resisting arrest. He was booked into County Jail on $75,000 bail for felony charges including car theft, possession of stolen property, conspiracy, and attempting to evade an officer.

Felipe Barrera

At the Carpinteria motel room reportedly associated with the suspects, deputies arrested Felipe Barrera, 29, of Goleta, and Kamila Cerda, 20, of Santa Barbara, after discovering stolen property inside the room, as well as the white Toyota Camry in the motel’s parking lot. According to the Sheriff’s Office, security camera footage obtained by city police revealed the suspects used the victim’s credit cards at U.S.A. Gasoline on South Milpas Street.

Gutierrez and Alvarez posted $20,000 bail each at County Jail for charges related to possession of stolen property, car theft, and resisting arrest. Barrera posted $25,000 for three felony charges — possession of stolen property, conspiracy, and car theft. Cerda posted $20,000 bail on charges of possession of stolen property, conspiracy, and misdemeanor car theft.


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