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Santa Barbara County

Pair of Lompoc residents facing theft, drug charges following Sunday arrest 

Two Lompoc residents were arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly driving a stolen car that contained thousands of dollars worth of stolen property, burglary tools, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Erika Krystal Garcia and Aldo Almanza, both 29 years old, were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail and held without bail. Their alleged crimes occurred throughout Santa Barbara County. The car they were driving was reported stolen out of Santa Maria, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and they were arrested in the Santa Barbara area near the intersection of Burtis Street and San Marcos Road.

Garcia’s charges include vehicle theft, burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, possession of narcotic paraphernalia and a no-bail Probation Department detainer. Almanza was arrested for vehicle theft, burglary, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, grand theft, possession of methamphetamine, and a felony no-bail warrant stemming from a previous auto theft.

The incident leading to their arrests began around 6:50 a.m. Sunday when a person called the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center and told dispatchers that a male and female subject appeared to be breaking into vehicles in the area of Burtis Street and San Marcos Road. The suspects had been observed pulling on the door handles of cars and were associated with a white Honda sedan that had paper license plates attached to the bumpers, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Sheriff’s deputies responded and conducted an enforcement stop after locating the vehicle. It was then that deputies learned that Garcia and Almanza were driving a stolen vehicle, which they had allegedly been using while they committed numerous thefts.

“An inventory of the car yielded stolen property, burglary tools, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia,” a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said. “The stolen property included thousands of dollars worth of power tools and a large quantity of stolen mail/documents.”

Anyone with information about the case or who believes they are the owner of any of the stolen property is encouraged by the Sheriff’s Office to contact investigators at 681-4100. Anonymous tips can also be left by calling 681-4171 or visiting


Parks Division pickup truck stolen and recovered in 3-hour span

A city of Lompoc Parks Division vehicle was stolen from Ryon Park on Sunday evening and then recovered hours later in an alley, according to a city spokeswoman.

The pickup truck was being operated Sunday by a city-contracted park host who had stepped away from the truck to do a task, the spokeswoman reported. The truck was then taken by an unidentified person around 6 p.m.

Lompoc Police officers reportedly found the vehicle abandoned and undamaged in an alley between North V and W streets around 9 p.m.

“Although the vehicle is undamaged, some personal belongings of the park host are missing,” the city spokeswoman said.

The Lompoc Police Department is investigating the alleged theft and encourages anyone with information on the incident to call detectives at 736-2341, or to report the information anonymously through the police department’s mobile app.

Santa Barbara County

Contract awarded to rebuild three of four heavily damaged Montecito bridges

Caltrans is moving ahead with plans to repair and rebuild four Highway 192 bridges damaged in the 1/9 Debris Flow in Montecito, a spokesman for the agency’s District 5 said.

Security Paving Co. of Sylma has already been awarded a contract for the $20 million project to rebuild the Montecito Creek, Romero Creek and Toro Canyon bridges, said Jim Shivers, public information officer for District 5.

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The Arroyo Parida Creek Bridge also will be rebuilt, but Caltrans is exploring options and a timeline to accelerate its replacement, Shivers said.

Evacuated residents continue to repopulate Montecito, most sections of Highway 192 at the west and east ends are now open to motorists, with the highway closed between the Sycamore Canyon intersection with Camino Viejo Road there and Cravens Lane in Carpinteria.

Because of the large section that remains closed, Caltrans is strongly advising through traffic to continue using Highway 101.

Shivers said the bridges will likely be closed to through traffic, except for emergency and utility vehicles for several months up to the time of demolition.

Barricades and locked gates will secure each site, with detours available via local roads.

Initial work will involve the existing structures, with construction to start after design work is completed for the new bridges, Shivers said.

Caltrans will provide a specific timeline for opening the four locations as more information becomes available.

The agency also plans to replace guardrails on the San Ysidro Creek and Toro Creek bridges, which are open but reduced to one lane under one-way traffic controlled by stop and yield signs that will remain in place until repairs are complete.

For more information on the project and updates on other Caltrans projects in Santa Barbara County, call the District 5 Public Affairs Unit at 549-3237 or visit