Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. updated information of an armed home invasion in Goleta, adding another suspect and gun to the incident report Wednesday.
On Tuesday morning, three Asian males dressed in suits, two armed with semi-automatic handguns and one with a black briefcase, invaded and ransacked a Goleta residence, tying up a 26-year-old woman who was temporarily watching over the house. Reports say the suspects spoke Chinese throughout the duration of the robbery. The three escaped less than an hour before the owners returned home. The three suspects are all described to be in their 20s.
Beginning in November 2000, the county’s Major Crimes Unit began investigating a series of five burglaries, two attempted burglaries and one home invasion. The three suspects depicted in the composite photographs are currently the prime suspects in the ongoing investigation. All the victims of this series of crimes have been Asian and local business owners. In all cases, cash and jewelry were found to be missing, according to Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. Public Information Officer Lt. Mike Burridge.
"All of the victims have been restaurant owners. We haven’t released a list of what has been taken, but it has mostly been items of value and cash in the residences," he said.
Sheriff’s Dept. investigators have linked Tuesday’s home-invasion robbery in Goleta to another midday home-invasion robbery in Oxnard, which occurred close to the same time, Burridge said.
"There have been a series of burglaries and home invasions since November that we think are all related. There have been five residential robberies, two attempted robberies of the same residence and the one [Tuesday]. All have been similar in circumstance and victim profile. [The Goleta] and Oxnard robberies [Tuesday] were at the same time."
According to the Sheriff’s Dept., the suspects are extremely well organized and may have been scrutinizing the victims’ residences to determine when the victims were not at home.
Investigators request that anyone with information regarding these crimes contact the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. Criminal Investigation division at 681-4150 or one can contact the anonymous tip line at 681-4171.
– Ted Andersen and Shaun P. McGrady