Credit: Courtesy

Five suspects have been arrested in connection to several burglaries and one armed robbery after the Santa Barbara Police Department received several tips from the public following a string of burglaries at a church and children’s center earlier this month.

The six burglaries took place from January 1 to January 5 near State Street and Padre Street, and led to SPBD detectives requesting the public’s assistance in identifying two suspects involved.

According to SBPD Public Information Officer Sergeant Ethan Ragsdale, detectives received several tips from the community that led to the arrest of the two suspects involved: 23-year-old Carla Rocha, of Santa Barbara; and 19-year-old Alex Francisco, of Ventura. Rocha was arrested on January 17 in Santa Barbara, while Francisco turned himself in the next day.

Francisco was found to be involved in a separate incident — a robbery at gunpoint at a local smoke shop — which involved three other suspects. After arresting Francisco, detectives working the investigation were able to learn the identities of three other suspects involved in the robbery and obtain search and arrest warrants.

On January 20, 2022, detectives arrested 42-year-old Vicente Herrera-Chavez, of Santa Barbara, during a traffic stop; officers found a loaded handgun and narcotics in his vehicle.

Later that day, detectives also arrested 25-year-old Jose Arnulfo Munoz, of Santa Barbara, and 37-year-old Marcos Jorge Pecero-Martinez, of Goleta, in connection to the smoke shop robbery. 

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All five suspects were booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail. Rocha is charged for the church and child center burglaries with felony burglary and conspiracy and is being held on a bail of $50,000. Francisco was charged in both crimes, with multiple counts of felony burglary, conspiracy, robbery, and being armed with a firearm while committing a robbery. He is being held with a bail of $200,000.

Herrera-Chavez, Munoz, and Pecero-Martinez are all being charged with felony robbery, conspiracy, and being armed with a firearm while committing a robbery, as well as individual charges related to other crimes. All three are being held with a bail of $200,000 each.

“The Santa Barbara Police Department would like to thank the public as well as the media for their assistance in apprehending these suspects,” Ragsdale said.

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