Man with knife approaches ATM user in Orcutt

Michael Fernandez

Deputies arrested a man who pulled two knives on a person who was using an ATM in Orcutt earlier this month, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. The person at the ATM managed to run away unharmed, and sheriff’s deputies quickly tracked down the suspect, 23-year-old Michael Fernandez.

On Nov. 6, deputies received a report of a suspicious person in the 5800 block of Ken Avenue. The suspect was repeatedly looking back over his shoulder as if someone was following him and was possibly under the influence of a controlled substance.

Another witness reported that the suspect knocked on the door of a home on Ken Avenue while holding a knife in his hand. Authorities then placed the nearby Saint Louis de Montfort School on lockdown.

As deputies were tracking Fernandez, he approached the person at the ATM with a knife. Deputies then searched the area, located Fernandez and found that he was in possession of methamphetamine.

A search of a garbage can nearby netted two knives: a 12-inch kitchen knife with an eight-inch blade and an open and locked butterfly knife with a four-inch blade, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies arrested Fernandez and booked him into the Santa Barbara County Jail on several felony and misdemeanor charges. Fernandez’s bail was set at $40,000.

The sheriff’s office is encouraging residents to report suspicious activity around neighborhoods and businesses. Also, sheriff’s officials are warning residents not to complete paperwork while at the ATM, not to use ATMs near corners of buildings, not to count money at ATMs and not to carry envelopes in open view to ATMs. Likewise, sheriff’s officials suggest that people be alert, appear confident and slowly scan the area while approaching an ATM.