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Santa Barbara queer bar burglarized by homeless man

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif.- Santa Barbara police have arrested a homeless man who is seen stealing from Crush Bar & Tap, a local queer bar, Wednesday morning.

Before burglarizing the bar, Sgt. Andrew Hill with the Santa Barbara Police says the homeless man stole an electric bike that was in front of the Gold's Gym on West Carillo Street.

The owner of Crush Bar, Shannon Gaston, says she was notified of the theft from the bar's security system around 8 a.m.

"I got a call from our security company saying that their the alarm had been going off. So my first thing is always just to look at the camera on my phone and I see a man standing in the bar and I'm like, who could that be?"

Gaston says she was on the phone with Santa Barbara Police while watching the man steal from her bar.

"I was watching him rip out everything, trying to get the drawer open, get the money out, ripping it out of the wall, and all I could think is just get a human being in there! It's like broad daylight in the morning. Where are the people?"

The homeless man got away with about $300 dollars cash, a card reader, and a sweatshirt according to Gaston. She adds the man also took a box of candles because there was a trail of candles out out the door and down the steps to the parking lot.

Santa Barbara Police officers arrested the man in a westside neighborhood following a foot chase after responding to reports of the man trespassing in yards and garages. Once apprehended law enforcement were able to connect him to the bike theft and the same electric bike that appears in police obtained surveillance footage at Crush.

The owner admits that the door the homeless man went through was unlocked, however since the door does not have handles, she says her first thought was somebody knew the space and had seen the door open before.

Crush Bar & Tap is located in Victoria Court along with Core Power Yoga and Old Town Coffee. Employees at Core Power Yoga says there there was a 7 a.m. class that morning so there could be people walking around at the time of the burglary.

The owner of Old Town Coffee, Tim Ward, says his barista say a man acting strange that morning. Ward says his employee described a man walking into the coffee shop, not buying anything, and then at one point was shaving in front of the shop. Ward says police talked with that employee later that morning.

Gaston says this burglary is not going to stop the bar from being a safe space for everyone.

"We are going to keep going. Nothing is going to slow us down."

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
crush bar
queer bar
Santa Barbara

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Drew Ascione

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