Found in the line of duty
Stalking suspect re-arrested
ISLA VISTA — A Santa Barbara man was re-arrested and is facing an additional 17 felony charges as part of an ongoing investigation stemming from his arrest in May.
Zachary Coughlin, 43, was initially arrested on suspicion of felony stalking. He was living in a converted bus in the Isla Vista area and “caught the attention of locals with his references on social media to the tragic mass murder that occurred in Isla Vista in 2014,” Raquel Zick, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, said at the time of the arrest.
Authorities began reviewing digital media storage devices found in Mr. Coughlin’s possession during the arrest, and discovered numerous photographic and video files that appeared to be potential sexual assaults he committed upon several women.
Investigators worked to identify the victims and detectives believe he committed sexual assaults upon two women, Ms. Zick said.
On Oct. 1, Mr. Coughlin, who was already in custody, was re-arrested on 17 additional felony allegations, including seven sexual penetration charges, six rape charges, three oral copulation charges, and kidnapping. He is also facing enhancement allegations for “the serious and violent nature of the offenses,” Ms. Zick said.
Mr. Coughlin is being held on $1 million bail regarding the new charges.
Investigators are working to identify any potential victims or witnesses as the investigation continues, she said.
“The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has been working closely with Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office Deputy District Attorneys, investigators and victim advocates throughout this investigation,” Ms. Zick said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the department’s Special Investigations Bureau via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a victim, or believe you have information about a potential victim, please contact Detective McGillivray at 805-681-4175. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can provide information by calling our tip line at 805-681-4171 or online at sbsheriff.org.
— Mitchell White
Report: power pole sparked fire
Investigators with the Santa Barbara County Fire Department have determined that Southern California Edison power lines sparked the Hollister Fire earlier this year.
The blaze, which was reported in the early morning hours of May 7, burned more than 150 acres before forward progress was stopped. A utility pole in the area failed and fell to the ground in alignment with 30 mph north winds, said Capt. Daniel Bertucelli, fire spokesman.
An energized conductor, connected to the pole, arced to the ground and ignited surrounding vegetation causing the fire, Capt. Bertucelli said.
— Mitchell White