The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office arrested an Isla Vista resident on several felony charges in relation to a burglary that occured at the 6500 block of Del Playa Drive on Jan. 20.

Daily Nexus File Photo

The suspect, identified as 23-year-old Matthew Dunbar Roberts, was charged with three felony charges of burglary, false imprisonment and possession of a dirk or dagger, along with three misdemeanors for driving under the influence and driving on a suspended  license.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (SBSO) deputies responded to a report of an intruder at a private residence at 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 20 and arrived after the suspect had already fled the area. The suspect, who was unknown to the victim, entered the victim’s residence and unlawfully restrained her before fleeing.

SBSO also charged Roberts with two additional felonies for violating his probation orders. Roberts is being held at the Santa Barbara County Main Jail without bail.

“Through their investigation, deputies learned that the suspect, who is unfamiliar to the victim, entered the victim’s residence and held her down. The victim screamed, and the suspect fled the residence,” SBSO said in a press release.

The deputies quickly located the suspect based on a description of the suspect’s vehicle, which was broadcasted to area units and stopped Roberts nine minutes later around the intersection of El Colegio Road and Camino Pescadero.

SBSO’s arrest log identified Roberts as an Isla Vista resident and listed his occupation as a student. A person under the name Mathew Dunbar Roberts is recorded as a former student of Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). He attended in the summer and fall 2018 sessions, according to SBCC Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications Martha Swanson.

Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lieutenant Garrett TeSlaa said that the Sheriff’s Office has not observed any recent increase in burglary or intrusions but noted reports of breaking and entering as a frequent occurrence in I.V.

“We haven’t seen a discernible increase or decrease in intruder reports recently but unfortunately, it’s a recurring issue in I.V. It’s not uncommon for us to respond to reports of a burglary in progress with the residents still inside the apartment,” TeSlaa said in a statement to the Nexus.

TeSlaa emphasized that residents should lock their doors, even when home, and should provide a key to every roommate in the apartment.

He also offered the following community safety tips and recommended calling UCSB’s Community Service Organization “if you feel like you’re being followed” or 911 in the case of an emergency.

“Report intruders immediately by calling 911. Intruders will often claim they just went to the wrong house but that might just be an excuse. Contact law enforcement so we can determine if a crime has occurred,” TeSlaa said. “If confronted in your house by an intruder, try to notice their physical description and clothing and get away from them as soon as possible.”

A version of this article appeared on p. 1  of the Jan. 26, 2023 print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Nisha Malley
Nisha Malley (she/her/hers) is the County News Editor for the 2022-23 school year. Previously, Malley was an Assistant News Editor for the 2021-22 school year. She can be reached at