Auto Theft Arrest
updated: Mar 12, 2013, 3:38 PM
Source: Santa Barbara Police Department
David Daniel Peterson, age 26, of unincorporated Santa Barbara, was arrested for auto theft with a prior
conviction, a felony, and destruction of evidence and resisting or delaying an officer, both
misdemeanors, following an incident where Peterson stole a car after observing the owner leave the
keys in the vehicle. With the assistance of GM OnStar, officers recovered the stolen vehicle and arrested
On March 9, 2013 at 7:50 a.m., SBPD Officer Kyle Crooks and Officer Rob Castro responded to a call of
an auto theft that had just occurred at McDonald's Restaurant at 3940 State Street. Upon arrival they
contacted the victim who stated that his new 2013 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, valued at
$38,000.00, had just been stolen. Inside the bed of the truck was approximately $2,000.00 worth of
tools. The victim stated that he had left the keys to the truck on the driver's seat while he went into the
restaurant to order food. He returned approximately four minutes later to discover that his truck was
The victim advised the officers that his vehicle was equipped with the GM OnStar safety, navigation, and
communication service. The officers instructed the victim to contact OnStar, which he did; and OnStar
was able to locate the vehicle. OnStar provided information about the stolen vehicle's whereabouts to
the SBPD Combined Communications Center, which subsequently relayed that information to officers in
the field. Following updates from OnStar, Officer Crooks and Officer Castro were led to the area of
Foothill Road and Mission Canyon Road where they spotted the stolen truck being driven westbound on
Foothill Road. As the stolen vehicle passed Officer Crooks, who was travelling in the opposing direction,
the driver, Peterson, tried to obscure his face from view. Officer Crooks and Officer Castro turned to
follow the vehicle, which was last seen turning north onto Cheltenham Road. OnStar informed the
officers that the vehicle was on 800 Windsor Way and they found it there, abandoned at the end of the
street. The officers were met by several residents who informed them that Peterson had just run onto
the property of one of the houses there. Officer Crooks and Officer Castro searched the area and found
Peterson crawling through the brush on one of the hillside properties and arrested him at gunpoint.
Once Peterson was in custody it was discovered that he was on probation and had several past
convictions for auto theft.
Following his arrest Peterson was cooperative. He revealed that at the time of the incident he had been
sitting outside of McDonald's when he saw the victim exit his truck without keys in hand and took
advantage of the opportunity to steal the car. He drove away in the vehicle north on Highway 154,
ultimately discarding the tools that were in the back of the truck on West Camino Cielo. Peterson said
he did this because he felt the presence of the tools might identify the truck to law enforcement as the
one that had been stolen. While discarding the property Peterson also found the newly issued California
license plates for the car on the back seat and subsequently affixed one to the rear of the truck,
replacing the paper dealer plate that had been there, for the same reason. Peterson said he then
continued driving the vehicle, ultimately with the intention of going home. However, while driving on
Mission Canyon Road he saw Officer Castro and then a moment later Officer Crooks, and realized that
he needed to abandon the truck if he was to avoid getting into trouble. He drove onto Windsor Way, left
the car at the dead end, ran away on foot, and at attempted to hide in the brush on one of the
residential properties there.
During the investigation Peterson led Officer Castro back to the location on West Camino Cielo where he
had discarded the victim's tools. They, along with the truck, were returned to the victim. Peterson was
booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on the aforementioned charges, with a bail amount of
$30,000.00, and also on a no-bail detainer for violation of probation.
The Santa Barbara Police Department would like to remind everyone that when parking in public, please
keep your car doors locked, your valuables out of sight, and your keys in your pocket!
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MUG SHOT GALLERY
|| Vehicle Stolen from McDonalds this morning being traced by On Star and GPS, SBPD in pursuit.
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