- Monday January 30th, 2012 :: 03:31 p.m. PST
Dedicated to Serve - Rapist, Burglars Arrested & More
Here’s a summary of some of the significant cases your Santa Barbara Police Officers & Detectives have been busy working the last few days:
On January 20, 2012 Detective Michael Claytor was contacted by an Electronic Technician from City of Santa Barbara Downtown Parking. The technician had been reviewing security camera photos from an elevator in City Lot #2, 900 Chapala Street, when he observed something very disturbing. Beginning at 11:47 p.m. on January 17th, the photos depict the rape of an unconscious female victim inside of the elevator by a male suspect. The suspect is seen bringing the unconscious victim into the elevator and assaulting her over the course of an hour. He then leaves and the victim remains unconscious on the floor of the elevator for another 3½ hours until she awakens and staggers away. Photographs of the suspect were distributed within the Police Department and Officer Craig Burleigh recognized the suspect as Anthony Vasquez, age 19, a felony probationer. Vasquez was quickly located in Vera Cruz Park by a Narcotics detective where Detective Claytor subsequently responded and arrested him. Detective Bryan Jensen identified and subsequently located the victim, age 23. She was interviewed and connected with the services of Santa Barbara Rape Crisis. Vasquez was booked at SB County Jail for rape, oral copulation, penetration with a foreign object (digital penetration), sexual battery, and violation of probation. This case would have likely gone unreported had it not been for the astute observations of the Downtown Parking Employee. This case also serves as an example of the teamwork that takes place within SBPD in our efforts to fight crime.
Addict & Prolific Thief Arrested
On Jan 25, 2012 SBPD Narcotics detectives began working a case involving a parolee Gordon Welterlen, age 29, who was involved in selling heroin. Detectives conducted surveillance on Welterlen throughout the day. As the Narcotics detectives were working on their drug case, Property Crimes detectives began looking at surveillance photos from local commercial burglaries in an attempt to identify the burglary suspect. Detective Rashun Drayton was able to identify the suspect as Gordon Welterlen. Narcotics detectives made contact with Welterlen as he pulled into a parking lot for the Sunset Motel at 3504 State Street. Welterlen was in possession of heroin for sale, numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia, and suspected stolen property. Property Crimes detectives responded to assist with the investigation. Welterlen was arrested for possession of heroin for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and violation of parole; he was booked at SB County Jail. The Property Crimes case against Welterlen is ongoing; however Detective John Ingram will be adding additional charges of auto burglary and commercial burglary later this week. Investigation revealed that Welterlen used at least 7 stolen credit cards at various stores during his crime spree. It is believed that Welterlen had been stealing from numerous businesses and automobiles in an effort to support a heroin addiction.
Prolific Auto Burglar Arrested
On January 26, 2012 SBPD Property Crimes detectives received information regarding stolen property. A victim of theft was using GPS software to track his stolen Ipad. The Ipad was stolen from 1815 Laguna Street and was tracked to 875 Cheltenham Road. Detectives responded to the Cheltenham residence and contacted Cameron Hadighi, age 23, a renter in the house. Hadighi admitted to stealing the Ipad and acknowledged that other stolen property was in his room. Investigation determined that Hadighi was responsible for five auto burglaries, a theft from an unlocked vehicle, and an attempted auto theft. He was arrested by Detective Rashun Drayton on these charges and booked into SB County Jail. Hadighi is suspected of committing as many as forty auto burglaries in the City of Santa Barbara within the last two months.
Father Arrested for Shaking Baby
On January 27, 2012 at 11:38 a.m., Officer Brian Larson responded to the Pediatrics Unit at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to investigate a possible case of child abuse. The reporting party, a Cottage Hospital social worker, advised that the victim, a 3-month old baby girl, had been brought to the hospital the night before under suspicious circumstances; she was unresponsive but showed no sign of external injury. Medical examination revealed that the baby was suffering from hemorrhages on both sides of her brain. The examining physician recognized that this type of injury under these circumstances is almost always associated with violently shaken babies. The child’s parents were contacted at the hospital and her father, Nathaniel McKnight, age 24, was brought to SBPD for an additional interview. After initially offering several contradictory explanations, McKnight admitted to violently shaking his baby while angry with her for crying, causing her head to snap back and forth. Officer Larson arrested and booked McKnight into SB County Jail for child endangerment resulting in great bodily injury. The baby was hospitalized in stable condition.
Stabbing Suspect Arrested
On January 28, 2012 at 9:00 p.m., police responded to the area of the Cabrillo Pavilion, 1118 E. Cabrillo Boulevard, on a call of a battery. Reporting party William Landreth, age 46, reported that two males had attacked him. Upon arrival officers contacted Landreth and Daniel Stewart, age 41, a parolee. Stewart said that Landreth had pulled a knife on his friend and him. Just then, Andrea Brownell, age 43, ran over to say her boyfriend had been stabbed. She directed police to a transient encampment on the east side of the Sycamore Creek footbridge. John Tomlin, age 35, suffered two stab wounds to his belly. Officers Kody Cardana, Jared Hall, and Andrew Freytag handled the investigation. As best as can be determined, Tomlin and Stewart were sharing a case of beer at their encampment while Tomlin’s girlfriend Brownell was sleeping there. Earlier in the day, Landreth had stored some of his belongings nearby. Landreth walked up and saw that someone had rifled through his possessions. He yelled at the group for an explanation. Stewart approached and the two took to fighting/wrestling on the ground. Stewart called out to Tomlin for help, who joined in and was quickly stabbed twice. Landreth separated and called 911 to report being attacked, however later during questioning made incriminating statements. Police recovered a small Swiss Army knife from him. Landreth is a transient from the Los Angeles area. Tomlin was conscious at the scene, but was last reported to be at Cottage Hospital ICU, awaiting surgery. Landreth was booked at SB County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon.
15-Year Old Missing Person Case Closed
On May 9, 1997 a transient named Danny Watkins reported to SBPD that his fiancé was missing. Both had been staying at the Wings of Love shelter that existed at the time on Haley Street. SBPD personnel had little to work with; the missing person was only known as a black female, age 38, with very common first and last names (she wishes to remain unnamed). Leads in the case were exhausted and eventually contact was lost with the reporting party. Sergeant Noel Rivas, supervisor for the Youth Services Section, the branch of SBPD’s Investigative Division that handles missing person cases, recently developed information that someone with the same personal information as the missing person from this case was living in Los Angeles. It was a longshot, but nevertheless on December 1, 2012 he sent her a letter in an attempt to verify her identity. On January 30, 2012 she called Sergeant Rivas and confirmed that she was the missing person we had been looking for. She acknowledged having been the girlfriend of Watkins, of being homeless with him, and travelling throughout California during their time together. She stated that when in Santa Barbara they broke up and she left, not realizing that he reported her to the Police as missing. In tracking down Watkins, Sergeant Rivas discovered that he had passed away in a homeless shelter in Charleston, West Virginia in 2001. Although this was for the most part a mundane missing person investigation, it illustrates the tenacity of investigators seeking to bring closure to these cases.
Santa Barbara Police Department
215 East Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Riley L. Harwood
Public Information Officer