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Oct 21, 2010 11:35 PM by Ariel Wesler

Search for gunman suspended after home burglary

A home burglary in Santa Ynez prompts a massive search for an armed man. Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies say a man broke into a house on the 3300 block of Cimarron Drive in Santa Ynez. He threatened a woman with a gun and then took off.

With a helicopter in the air and a canine unit on the ground, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies had the area surrounded as they blocked off Cimarron Drive in Santa Ynez.

"Police cars were whizzing by with their lights on and that's very unusual for this neighborhood," said Ken Kelley, who lives nearby.

It happened just before 12:30 in the afternoon. Investigators say a man entered a house, found a handgun, and pointed it at an 20-year-old woman who was home alone. He then forced her to the ground.

"She does not know who the suspect is, has never seen him before and we don't know for what reason this house was selected," said Sgt. Brad McVay with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies say the woman was not injured, but immediately called her father from her room closet. He then notified a deputy making a routine traffic stop. All the commotion was making neighbors nervous.

"We searched the house and the backyard and everything else. A little bit cautious," Kelley said.

Schools in the area were under lockdown for about an hour.

"We haven't found the handgun, so we're treating the situation as if he is still in possession of it," McVay said.

The woman described the gunman as a Hispanic male, approximately 25 years old. 6'0" tall 220 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark blue jersey and black pants. She also told deputies he had a shaved head and some type of facial hair.

The Santa Barbara Emergency Communications Center put out a reverse 9-1-1 call to residents in the area. The search has been suspended, but deputies will continue to patrol the area as a precaution. The gunman is wanted for burglary and assault with a deadly weapon.


A sheriff's deputy responding to the home invasion was involved in a single vehicle accident on Highway 246. The CHP says the deputy was swerving to avoid a car - lost control and slid off the road into a large pine tree. He was not hurt in the crash.

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