By Hannah Adams
SANTA BARBARA, CA — A potential bike theft near University of California, Santa Barbara, turned into so much more in Santa Barbara County Superior Court last Friday.
Judge Pauline Maxwell sentenced Victor Soriano after he pleaded no contest for not just his attempt at bike theft near UCB’s Portola Dining Commons, but for one felony count of bringing contraband into jail/prison and misdemeanor counts: loitering and possession of burglary tools.
The judge sentenced Soriano to 60 days in the local county jail—he has a credit of 29 days time-served.
On Sept 22, Officer Edwin Ruiz was dispatched to the Portola dining commons for potential bike theft in progress and was informed by campus security officers (CSO) Soriano had left on his way to campus, and was followed by another police officer.
When Ruiz caught up to Soriano, he said he found Soriano straddling a silver bicycle. Upon consensually searching the accused, Ruiz said he didn’t find any contraband but recovered two sets of bike lock keys and a set of bolt-cutters wrapped in a t-shirt that had fallen near his feet.
Upon initial contact, Soriano had told the officers that he had paid $20 for the bike. There was a bike lock on the handle; Soriano did not know the combination.
After questioning Soriano, Ruiz said he discovered that Soriano is not a student, staff or faculty member of UCSB.
Ruiz then took Soriano into custody, and after a search of a black backpack, Officer Jose Blanco recovered a white, crystalline substance suspected to be methamphetamine.
It weighed 4.54 grams with packaging—Ruiz, based on his training, said that it was a usable amount of methamphetamine.
Ruiz also confirmed that he asked Soriano if he was affiliated with UCSB off the record. Ruiz affirmed that he spoke to Soriano in Spanish, however he clarified that he is not a certified Spanish interpreter.
Officer Blanco confirmed that he was at work when Soriano was brought in. He also mentioned that Soriano, when asked what the substance was, responded with, “It’s meth.”
The prosecutor objected on the basis she did not have discovery of this evidence, to which Blanco affirmed that he had not written an official report on what Soriano had said.
After some discussion, the court decided that it would not be an issue, but that the objection would be noted.
Once the prosecution rested, it amended the complaint, adding a Count 5 public safety code violation (a misdemeanor).
Judge Maxwell went over Soriano’s rights, taking care to say that she did not want to know his immigration status, but that he could face deportation for this offense.