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Car searched after juveniles burglary arrest

Sheriff’s Office canine Dougie searches a stolen car Tuesday afternoon following the arrest of four juveniles suspected of burglarizing and ransacking a number of homes in Santa Maria. Dougie's search turned up about half an ounce of marijuana.

Four teenagers were arrested and a substantial amount of stolen property — including a car — were recovered Tuesday after residents spotted suspicious activity in their neighborhood and called the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

About 12:20 p.m., a witness called 911 to report several suspects were seen carrying what appeared to be a flat-screen television and scaling a residential backyard fence near Union Valley Parkway and Highway 101 in Santa Maria.

Several other witnesses in the area called to report seeing similar individuals associated with a white four-door sedan getting onto northbound Highway 101, said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

Deputies from the sheriff’s Santa Maria Station intercepted the car and conducted a high-risk stop at Nicholson Avenue and East Cypress Street in Santa Maria, Hoover said.

Four boys in the car, ages 15 and 16, were detained and subsequently arrested with the assistance of the Santa Maria Police Department after an investigation found they had allegedly burglarized and ransacked multiple residences near the initial crime scene.

One of the boys, whose names were not released because of their age, was determined to have a gang affiliation, Hoover said.

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A substantial amount of stolen property was recovered from the vehicle, which investigators found had been stolen earlier in the day.

Sheriff’s Office canine Dougie, who is trained in narcotics detection, also located about half an ounce of marijuana inside the car.

The four teens were later booked into Santa Maria Juvenile Hall on suspicion of burglary, vehicle theft, possession of burglary tools, conspiracy to commit a crime, providing officers with a false name, having an open container of alcohol in the car and possession of stolen property.

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, news editor for the Santa Ynez Valley News. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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