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Cuyama Transient Arrested
updated: May 09, 2014, 3:25 PM

Source: SB County Sheriff's Office

A Cuyama transient is in custody after he allegedly started a fire in the backyard of a residence and assaulted one of the homeowners. Sheriff's deputies assigned to the Cuyama substation on Tuesday, May 6, arrested 62-year-old Stephen Howland and charged him with a number of felonies including arson and assault with deadly weapon.

Howland had recently been given permission by a homeowner in the 4600 block of Morales Street in Cuyama to stay in the backyard shop. At approximately 11:20 p.m., one of the homeowners was sleeping when she heard banging outside and found Howland breaking off wood from the fence to fuel a fire he had started in the backyard. The flames were four feet high and dangerously close to the residence. Howland had a wooden board and a pellet gun. When the homeowner attempted to put out the fire with a garden hose, Howland allegedly hit her in the head with one of the objects. When she called out to family to call 911, Howland ran off into a nearby field.

Sheriff's deputies responded and discovered Howland in the field carrying a crowbar in one hand and a 17" knife in the other hand. Despite repeated commands by Sheriff's deputies, Howland refused to drop the weapons. Sheriff's deputies were able to eventually take Howland into custody by using a bean bag round. During the exchange, Howland threw a knife in the direction of the deputy. Following his arrest, Sheriff's deputies discovered he was also in possession of two additional knives and wire cutters. Howland told deputies he thought people were chasing him.

Howland is at the Santa Barbara County Jail and is being held on $100,000 bail.

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