Running the registration on a 1997 Honda Accord parked at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday at a convenience store in Carpinteria, a Sheriff’s deputy learned the car had just been stolen from Simi Valley, read a Tuesday night Sheriff’s Office press release.
Following the occupied car from the store on the 1100 block of Casitas Pass Road to Highway 101 near Highway 150, Sheriff’s deputies tried but were unable to stop the Honda. At the 5900 block of Hickory Street, the driver — Efren Martinez, 26, of Los Angeles — fled on foot to “a highly populated residential area,” said the Sheriff’s Office release. The passenger, Cataline Padilla, 26, of Long Beach stayed in the car and was arrested.
Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers created a search perimeter with help from a Santa Barbara County Air Support helicopter and a K-9 team. Martinez tried to break into homes along the 5900 block of Via Real, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He was found hiding inside a random resident’s car shortly before 5:00 a.m.
Martinez was booked into County Jail on charges of auto theft, vehicle tampering, evading authorities, attempting residential burglary, committing a felony on bail, and driving without a license. His bail was set at $25,000. Padilla was arrested for auto theft, possession of stolen property, and conspiracy. She’s being held on $20,000 bail.