Twenty-year-old UCSB student Gregory Ayala Jr. was arrested Thursday, March 15, for allegedly committing three armed robberies and two attempted robberies in a 20-minute period in Isla Vista.
Ayala, an I.V. resident, reportedly began the series of robberies at 8:20 p.m. when he approached a 20-year-old female UCSB student riding her bike on the 900 block of Camino del Sur and demanded her wallet while holding her at knifepoint. Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. Public Information Officer Lt. Mike Burridge said the victim surrendered her bicycle to Ayala because she did not have a wallet.
“She told the suspect that she did not have a wallet, at which point, the suspect forcefully took her mountain bike. The bike has since been retrieved,” he said.
Burridge said Ayala, then on bicycle, next held a 19-year-old male UCSB student walking on the 6700 block of Picasso Road at knifepoint and demanded his wallet. The victim surrendered his wallet and was not harmed.
A 20-year-old male UCSB student walking on the intersection of Camino del Sur and Picasso Road reportedly observed Ayala fighting with another subject. When he got closer, Ayala allegedly approached him and demanded his wallet at knifepoint. Burridge said the victim did not give Ayala his wallet and escaped uninjured.
Ayala allegedly then robbed an 18-year-old female Santa Barbara City College student walking on the 700 block of Camino del Sur. Burridge said the victim did not have a wallet and instead gave Ayala her keys.
“She didn’t have her wallet, and she surrendered a set of keys that she reported to be the keys to her apartment,” he said.
The final incident in the series occurred when a 30-year-old I.V. resident was walking on the 6600 block of Sue–o Road. Ayala allegedly held the victim at knifepoint and proceeded to demand his wallet. The victim reportedly refused to surrender his wallet and Ayala fled the scene on bicycle.
Burridge said the sheriff deputies made the arrest while responding to the final robbery.
“When deputies were responding to one of the victims, they saw a fight in the driveway of 775 Camino del Sur. They diverted over to that location and the two subjects started to run. Ayala approached the officers and claimed that someone had tried to rob him,” he said. “He had a cut above his eye, so the officers called the paramedics. After they had made the call they heard a description of a robbery suspect over the radio that matched Ayala. They took Ayala to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital where he received stitches. The deputy sheriffs transported the alleged robbery victims to the hospital where they positively identified Ayala.”
After treatment of his injuries, Ayala was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of three counts of armed robbery, two counts of attempted robbery, and four counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He is being held on $250,000 bail.
Ayala is scheduled for arraignment on April 10, at 8:30 a.m. at the Santa Barbara Superior Courthouse.