Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s detectives caught three men driving through the Montecito disaster area on Tuesday in a possibly stolen vehicle carrying a large amount of ammunition and a spent handgun shell casing. The incident then led detectives to a hotel room where they found two more suspects, more ammunition and a stolen firearm. All five suspects were ultimately arrested.
At about 8:15 a.m., Special Investigations Bureau detectives were patrolling the Montecito disaster area when they noticed an SUV leaving Coast Village Road. Detectives stopped the SUV over vehicle code violations, according to the sheriff’s office.
After contacting the occupants of the vehicle, detectives determined the SUV had been “punched” and was being driven with a tool. Detectives suspected the vehicle had been stolen or unlawfully possessed.
Detectives ordered the three occupants out of the vehicle and found that a spent handgun shell casing was on the backseat. Deputies searched the vehicle and found a large amount of loose ammunition in the backseat and a tactical backpack containing more handgun and assault rifle ammunition.
Investigators determined the driver of the SUV, 30-year-old Port Hueneme man Frank Clark, was on AB 109 post-release community supervision probation out of Ventura County. The two passengers, 46-year-old Michael Reardon of Santa Barbara and 32-year-old James Wilson of Camarillo had outstanding warrants for their arrest.
The investigation led detectives to a Santa Barbara hotel in the 1100 block of E. Cabrillo Boulevard, where the suspects had involvement with two hotel rooms.
Detectives conducted a probation search of Clark’s hotel room, in which they contacted 36-year-old Ventura man Victor Rodriguez and 34-year-old Oxnard man Colin Moore. Both Rodriguez and Moor had outstanding warrants in Ventura County.
The search of the hotel room netted a Glock handgun, high capacity handgun magazines and more ammunition. Upon further investigation, detectives determined the firearm and ammunition were stolen earlier that day in a residential burglary in Port Hueneme.
Santa Barbara County detectives are currently working with Port Hueneme police in attempt to uncover additional crimes that the suspects may have committed.
Deputies booked Clark in jail on charges of driving with a suspended license, being a felon in possession of ammunition, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of high capacity magazines. Reardon and Rodriguez were taken into custody for their outstanding warrants.
Deputies booked Wilson into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on a warrant for theft crimes, possession of methamphetamine and providing false information to a peace officer. Moore was taken into custody on a no bail warrants for theft crimes and impersonating another.
Investigators request that anyone who has information about the case contact the sheriff’s office at (805) 681-4150 or anonymously call (805) 681-4171.