Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff’s deputies arrested a suspect for burglary, robbery, prowling, and theft of packages from homes in the Montecito area. On Sunday, November 28, 2021, at approximately 3:35 p.m. deputies were dispatched to the 1400-block of East Mountain Drive for a report of intruder who had just fled a home when confronted by the resident. The victim was able to provide a suspect and vehicle description for responding units, who located both in the 1500-block of East Mountain Drive.
The suspect, 43-year-old Despina Flengeris of Los Angeles, was found in possession of wrapped gifts that were taken from the victim’s residence as well as other items that appeared to be stolen from additional victims. One of the packages was tracked back to a separate residence where Flengeris was believed to have stolen it after it was delivered. Flengeris was also identified as having physically stolen another package from a delivery driver attempting to make a delivery at a third residence, but that package was recovered by the driver and delivered to the recipient. Flengeris was arrested for burglary (felony), robbery (felony), possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanor), possession of stolen property (misdemeanor), identity theft (misdemeanor), and prowling (misdemeanor). She remains in custody at the Southern Branch Jail with $50,000 bail.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office wants to take this opportunity to remind our community members of these safety tips to help prevent theft:
- Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened. Doors should have deadbolt locks and all windows should also have locks.
- Secure sliding glass doors by placing a metal rod or a wooden dowel rod in the track and install vertical bolts. This will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track.
- Always lock the door to an attached garage. Do not rely on your automatic garage door opener for security.
- Create the illusion that you are home by using timers on lights to make your residence appear occupied, even when no one is home.
- Keep the perimeter of your home well lit. Installing outdoor lighting is a good way to discourage intruders.
- Never leave clues that you are away on a trip. Have a trusted neighbor collect mail and deliveries while you are away. Be mindful of your social media and save the vacation photos until you are safely home.
- Lastly, report all suspicious activity to law enforcement when it is occurring or as soon as possible.