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Stolen vehicle suspect arrested after deputies surround Goleta shopping center

GOLETA, Calif. – A woman suspected of stealing a vehicle out of Santa Maria was taken into custody Tuesday after a heavy law enforcement presence responded to a popular shopping center in Goleta Tuesday afternoon.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies responded to the Camino Real shopping center on Hollister Avenue around 4 p.m. with guns drawn as they surrounded an area behind the Metropolitan Camino Real Cinemas movie theater.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the heavy response was due to a stolen vehicle out of Santa Maria.

Deputies with long guns and shields were seen in the area as well as a sheriff's K-9 unit.

For several minutes, deputies focused on a bathroom where a female suspect was believed to be located. After several minutes of unsuccessful communication, deputies entered the area and discovered that the woman was not in the bathroom.

A sheriff's helicopter flew over the air and more law enforcement officers were called into the area. People were being told to avoid the area.

Officials confirmed that the response was linked to a stolen vehicle. (Alex Zauner/KEYT)

The sheriff's office confirmed that the stolen vehicle in question, a white Toyota 4-Runner, was recovered at the scene.

The woman suspected of stealing the vehicle was described as a woman with a ponytail with blonde ends, wearing leggings with stars on them. By around 5:20 p.m., deputies took the woman into custody.

An official for the sheriff's office said the woman was suspected of stealing the SUV in Santa Maria. A good Samaritan reportedly followed the stolen vehicle and provided dispatchers with the location of the stolen vehicle.

No injuries were reported. Deputies were clearing the scene around 5:30 p.m. The incident is under investigation.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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