Man arrested on suspicion of burglary
SANTA BARBARA — Santa Barbara police Wednesday arrested a man suspected of being a rooftop burglar.
Joel P. Morelos Jr., 37, of Santa Barbara, was allegedly on the roof of a jewelry store in the 600 block of North Milpas Street. He was dressed in all black clothing and wearing a black ski-type mask, Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale said in a news release that the News-Press received Friday.
The Santa Barbara Police Combined Communications Center received the report from a community member about the suspect at 10:40 p.m. Wednesday. The community member told police they could see the subject allegedly using power tools to cut into the rooftop.
Several officers covertly responded to the area to set up a perimeter to prevent the suspect from potentially fleeing. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office responded with a police K-9 to assist.
The business being burgled has a large roof top that connects with several other businesses in that block. The suspect, Mr. Morelos, learned of the officers’ presence and started running back and forth on the large roof to escape, according to Sgt. Ragsdale.
During this time, Mr. Morelos reportedly was able to partially gain access to another local business through a large rooftop air vent in an attempt to evade.
Officers gained access to the roof and after a short rooftop foot pursuit, apprehended Mr. Morelos.
Officers located numerous burglary tools that Mr. Morelos was allegedly using.
Mr. Morelos was arrested approximately 40 minutes after the initial call was received by a Santa Barbara police dispatcher. Detectives were called to assist in this case and learned Mr. Morelos may be connected to additional, similar burglaries in Santa Barbara.
Mr. Morelos was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail on suspicion of attempted burglary (felony), looting/theft during a state of emergency (felony), vandalism (felony), resisting arrest (misdemeanor), providing a false name (misdemeanor), and possession of burglary tools (misdemeanor).
Mr. Morelos is being held on $500,000 bail.
The other potential related burglaries are currently under investigation, and Sgt. Ragsdale said no other information could be released at this time.
— Dave Mason