Alleged car thief strips while fleeing Santa Barbara deputies

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies caught a suspect who ran from law enforcement Tuesday morning — and stripped off much of his clothing — after allegedly stealing a vehicle. 

Shortly after 7 a.m., a 911 caller reported a disturbance at a gas station at Hollister Avenue and Walnut Lane near Goleta. As deputies were on their way to the scene, Jeremiah Scofield, 33, stole a white flatbed Ford truck and drove toward Hollister Avenue and Turnpike Road, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Within 10 minutes, deputies located the truck in the 4700 block of Ashdale Street. Scofield had already fled by foot.

Scofield fled in a neighborhood near San Marcos High School. Deputies surrounded the area and began searching for Scofield, who was shedding clothing as he ran through different neighborhoods.

The sheriff’s office instructed residents to be on the lookout for a man who was wearing a white T-shirt and either blue jeans or just underwear. Sheriff’s officials also said in a tweet the suspect was believed to have a tattoo of a running hatchet man on his throat.

Multiple witnesses called the sheriff’s office to report possible sightings of the suspect. At 9:26 a.m., one person reported seeing the suspect wrapped in a sheet.

Deputies then located Scofield in the area of Patterson Avenue and More Ranch Road, where they took him into custody.

Authorities booked Scofield in the Southern Branch Jail on charges of vehicle theft, loitering on private property and violation of probation. He is being held in jail without bail.

Sheriff’s officials thank members of the public who helped them locate the suspect. A sheriff’s K-9 and helicopter were also used in the search.

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