Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

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Update by Santa Barbara Police Department
July 30, 2021

On July 28, 2021, around 4:00 pm, dispatchers from the Santa Barbara Police Department received several 9-1-1 calls about a male subject brandishing a knife in the area of State Street and Anapamu Street.

It was reported the suspect, Robert J. Tobarro, a 58-year-old transient, was making verbal threats for an unknown reason, towards a family that was visiting from out of town. Tobarro then started following the family as they walked down State Street and approached the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Tobarro started directly making threats towards a young boy in the family. The father of the child began to intervene when Tobarro pulled out from his pocket a fixed blade knife. According to witnesses, Tobarro continually made threats while following the family when bystanders called 9-1-1 to report the incident.

Multiple Officers quickly responded to the area and were able to contact the victims and Tobarro who was detained on scene. Witnesses and the victims reported Tobarro had become verbally aggressive and appeared intoxicated. When the victims attempted to avoid Tobarro, he became agitated and made threats towards the victims with the knife in hand.

Tobarro was placed under arrest after the investigation was completed. Tobarro was booked in Santa Barbara County Jail for, 422 PC – Criminal Threats (felony), 273a PC – Child Endangerment (felony), and 417 PC – Brandishing a Weapon (misdemeanor). He is currently being held on $100,000 bail.

The victims were fortunately not physically harmed during this incident.

Reported by Scanner Andrew
4:08 p.m., July 28, 2021

Police are responding with lights and sirens for a transient brandishing a knife near Old Navy on State Street

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sacjon Jul 28, 2021 04:20 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

I was in Long Beach last weekend down by the Aquarium and noticed a SURPRISING lack of any homeless people, despite all the tourists. I kept wondering why. There were plenty nice shady grass areas, plenty of foreign tourists to beg from, yet NO homeless people lying about or gutter punks with drums and dogs. Really curious why.

edney Jul 28, 2021 05:15 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Speaking for myself, its not that I don't want to pay towards housing people, I just disagree with home much they want to spend per unit or per person.
I realize housing homeless people takes money for security (In LA Venice Bridge Housing, LAPD responded there 117 days out of a 144 day period and on some of those 117 days, responded multiple times. That is not for emergency housing that is in the Bridge or Transition group.
I also realize that there will be high cleaning costs. Some people get high, crap in the corner because the bathroom is too far and other messy nonsense.

So I expect security costs, cleaning costs, but $3000 per month and up per person seems steep.
In LA they were charging taxpayers $2600 a month per tent space in an asphalt parking lot.

At those type of prices we have to decide how many we can afford and also figure out if the money going to which non profits and the homeless corporate complex people are expensive wastes and which are great value.
There are people who make over $200K and all they have ever done is "advocate" which is a nebulous benefit and "raise awareness" which is even less substantive

ParvoPup Jul 28, 2021 08:37 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

So what is the solution? Is there even one?

As I see it an admittedly grossly generalized way is that we have three categories of the "homeless".

The most distressing are the trouble-makers - the one's that gives Roger and ScannerAndrew their purpose. This group includes the "travelers", the buskers, the druggies, the drunks, the hoboes and the bums. They are not part of acceptable society and they appear to not want to be. Screw these people. They have exited our world by choice and should not be indulged in any manner.

The second group is more problematic. They are the people with mental issues, disabilities of a physical nature, the abused and the vulnerable. Once upon a time, this state had facilities that would collect and care for these people but that program was killed by Reagan back in the 1980's. Society has no place for these people to go for permanent care and with the impending dooms of fire, drought, climate change, no water and no electricity - no one will ever succeed at funding the massive social programs and infrastructure to care for this group. They are screwed and that is unfortunate.

The last group of my hypothetical are the "dumb-luck" crowd. The people who just lost a job, or filed for medical bankruptcy. The ones whose landlord just evicted them from their home so he could sell it to a Hedge Fund Flipper or turn it into an AirBnB.

Of the three groups - this last category should be our first priority, assuming we, as a taxed society, agree to fund their reentry. They were more likely to be contributors to our society and our economy and will be again if given a break. I would be willing to support recovery programs for this group if asked to do so.

If we had the resources, the physically or mentally afflicted in category number two would be great to help - but in reality, not enough of society will go along with paying for it to make it happen.

As for the bums - I have zero sympathy for parasites.

Byzantium Jul 29, 2021 08:58 AM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Solvang has no bums either. Only saw one sprawled out on the sidewalk in front of a public restroom recently. What are they doing right that this city keeps doing wrong?

Alexblue Jul 30, 2021 12:45 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Sacjon, because we make it very easy for them to hang out here. It's a terrible situation, but basically the only way (other than a massive state and federal effort to freaking deal with this issue, which won't happen) to get the homeless out of here is to make them so miserable that they leave of their own free will. Basically city sanctioned police harassment is the only way to do it.

popcorn Jul 31, 2021 10:47 AM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Parvopup: It's not so easy to separate people who have unfortuneate lives. There is much overlap in your groupings, e.g. those with "mental issues'" are often "the druggies, the drunks, the hoboes + the bums" and those currently with "dumb luck" may develop mental + substance misuse issues in the future, due to the stress. To quote Longfellow: "If we could know the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person's life, sorrow + suffering enough to disarm all hostilities."

biguglystick Jul 31, 2021 02:14 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Well, think about it for a second: Solvang is in the middle of a hot valley, difficult to get to via public transportation. Cities that run alongside railroads, bus lines and freeways obviously have more homeless people. I don't see why any homeless people would make their way out to the SY Valley.

Basicinfo805 Jul 28, 2021 04:26 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Sacjon - great question. We have been on a road trip throughout the western states for the past couple weeks and your question resonates with me. We travelled through 5 states and dozens of cities, small towns, etc and I would say it’s a tie for the worst homeless issue in the southwest : Santa Barbara and Los Vegas are the worst. In fact, these are the only places where we really saw any homeless on our thousand mile journey. We didn’t run up into NorCal and the likes of Portland/Seattle, which would probably be right up ther

a-1627523037 Jul 28, 2021 06:43 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Santa Cruz is just as bad as SB if not worse. We have to enforce existing laws and create new legislation to get people off of the streets who are a danger to themselves and others. Enough is enough. There are daily problems. Until people take action to make some changes it will only get worse. So I think we should all go pitch tents on the beach and in parks this fiesta, have bon fires and camp all weekend. Have open containers and drink away since that seems to be acceptable.

Basicinfo805 Jul 28, 2021 04:32 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Sorry, hit the return button prematurely…

Anyways, SB is a real Mecca for people who aren’t interested in being housed, and I think a lot of us know why. Unfortunately, even more of “us” believe in endless taxpayer dollars getting handed out to no end around here, so there’s no end in sight in the area until we have leaders with different visions about how society should work.

Go ahead ultra liberal subset of us edhatters, hit me with some downvotes. Im ok with it. Just remember the old adage, “you reap what you sow”.

sacjon Jul 28, 2021 04:50 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

BASCI - I get it, but I think the "taxpayer dollars" are what keeps places like Long Beach clean (increased police patrols, etc), and will be need to clean up SB. Problem is, whenever $$ is used to try to clean up our town (remember the recent clean up and hotel debacle), people lose their s*#t complaining about not wanting their tax dollars going to take care of the homeless.

FondofSB Jul 30, 2021 05:04 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Basic : Fully agree !
Let's defund the police so that people like that can really go after small children and use their knives on them.
It'll be such a glorious society and way of life !

biguglystick Jul 31, 2021 02:21 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

FONDOFSB: Clearly you don't understand what the whole "Defund the Police" movement means. It means putting money into social programs that would help tackle and prevent this kind of circumstance in the first place instead of giving hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars to police for them to have revved up state of the art parking meter maid mobiles or Terminator level motorcycles and gear. They don't need that sh!#. We need social programs to tackle these mental issues that land people on the streets in the first place. THAT is what the Defund The Police movement is about.

Byzantium Jul 28, 2021 08:55 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

There is no upper limit to the numbers of vagrants a small city like Santa Barbara can be forced to handle. Therefore, it is total insanity to even pretend or even mouth the words that we can. Stop trying. Enforce the same laws that are enforced against everyone of for trespass, public camping, open fires, public nuisance and indecent behavior. Any. public care obligation rests entirely with the state of California or the federal government. Refer all cases to either the criminal justice system, state senator Monique Limon's office, state Assemblyman Michael Bennett's office or Congressional Rep Salud Carbajal. Stop playing games. This is not Santa Barbara's duty or obligation to solve. It exceeds our resources as a small town. Stop electing locally those who continue to make excuses, wring their hands and stop electing state and federal officials who entirely shirk their clear duties to get these people off our streets and into state/federal care institutions.Or jail. Let Homeless Inc howl all they want. More importantly let Homeless Inc go broke and pack up shop. Mission accomplished. The torch has been passed to Limon, Bennett and Carbajal. Our little city died trying.

Babycakes Jul 29, 2021 08:40 AM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

The reason why there is a lack of street folks begging near the Aquarium of the Pacific is because....the nearest liquor store is 1 mile away. Most of your homeless hot spots from coast-to-coast are within close proximity to retail businesses that sell alcohol. That's not quite the case at the Ellwood Reserve, but you will notice a constant flow of bicycles between the reserve and the 7-11 on Hollister near Ellwood Shores and/or the liquor store in the Target shopping center. Like bees needing to have their hive in close proximity to flowering plants.

Byzantium Jul 29, 2021 09:05 AM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Parvo, Agree. Anyone who continues to lump all "homeless together" instead of triaging them as you just stated, should be ignored. We are spending huge amounts in this country on our social welfare programs which do address the "have nots" - those with temporary set backs. Not sure why it is implied we are "doing nothing" for this sub-group population since social welfare programs remain a very large part of our tax payer funded expenses and have been for decades. The new growth areas started after ACLU got the state to close down state care institutions for the mentally impaired subgroup who cannot function outside on their own. But agree, the biggest and newest subgroup - the will nots - the addicts, grifters and con artists who refuse to even enter treatment programs is the group that causes 100% burnout in the rest of us. Target. this group first. They made choices not to conform to general societal rules and standards of public behavior. We owe them nothing and they must be banned from our city limits due to their chronic health and safety abuses against the rest of us that they now represent.

Andrea Smith Jul 30, 2021 01:12 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

I regularly to go: Ventura, Carp, Oxnard, SLO, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Buellton and NEVER do I see so many homeless people if any as I do here in SB. No, it's not the nice weather b/c those places have nice weather too. It's the tolerance by the city and some residents to this and the enabling. Like one poster said, we should be compassionate and sympathetic towards some categories of homeless but not people like this and like the bums. Enough is enough already now a young boy is threatened! When are the normal people in this city finally going to stand up and say ENOUGH

xpander Jul 30, 2021 01:15 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

This will probably be incredibly unpopular, but one of the ways to a solution might be to make it so uncomfortable for these types of homeless (the one's we have all been reading about and dealing with for our most our lives, or at least those of us who were born and raised here) that they may not want to or think twice about pulling this type of crazy s**t. Take a large group of local volunteers (cito rats, pit mafia, mesa rats, northsiders, or anyone willing to help) that are absolutely fed up with this crap and walk State. Think of it as a local "Guardian Angels" that deal with this kind of trash. When innocent people who are just trying to live and enjoy life, have to have theirselves and their kids threatened in this manner it's unacceptable. I feel so bad for anyone with kids who have to experience that kind of crazy.

biguglystick Jul 31, 2021 02:27 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

XPANDER: I'm down! Let's do it! If the cops and the city won't clean it up, us locals will! I just heard a story about Oakland's Pothole Vigilantes, who go out under the cover of night and fill up potholes because the roads have been so bad for years and they were fed up with it. We can do the same here, cleaning up and clearing out the homeless camps! Sign me UP.

fitz Jul 30, 2021 02:52 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Of course there is a solution. Zero tolerance. My son's family was accosted by some belligerent homeless guy as they came out of the Arlington after seeing the Nutcracker. It was the same nasty guy we had encountered ourselves in previous weeks to this. The guy was yelling at them 'f.......k you' over and over again. Last time they took the family to State St. And that was 4 years ago.

a-1627685467 Jul 30, 2021 03:51 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Sadly, a lot of families can relate to this experience with their kids. If you know what to expect and what is waiting for you downtown, than you simply avoid it. It's sad that local people have to make that decision, but it's a reality. Out of towners, unless doing their homework before traveling here, don't have that important information to consider, and sometimes get caught up in behavior like this kook here. I haven't taken my family down on State for years now as well - If I am alone it's no problem, but I would rather not subject my wife and young daughter to these clowns. Everyday, when you see clueless people - the "bleeding heart-types" that give $ to the gutter punks on the on and off-ramps, they don't realize it's the very same people who are causing this type of chaos downtown. They have a very well-organized con going and have for a long long time. You think Cathy Murillo is going to do anything at all about this problem? It would be almost comical to think our local gov't will ever do anything.

SBLetsGetAlong Jul 30, 2021 03:16 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Welcome to the new norm.
Where the govt does not actually help. They are more interested in putting money in their pockets and friends pockets and not actually making progress
Our government is going to drive SB into the ground.

biguglystick Jul 31, 2021 02:28 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

SBLETSGETALONG: You got THAT right!!! Have you seen some of the bloated salaries and pay packages that the city employees get?! I bet every single one of them own their own million dollar homes here in SB, while lifetime locals cannot afford it.

Roger Jul 30, 2021 03:25 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

I guess he is mentally ill or as the activists would say "Are you sure he is homeless? , he does not look homeless." Any excuse to not lose one cent of a grant. Anyone who threatens a child ought to do hard time.

OAITW Jul 30, 2021 03:32 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

If threatening tourist’s children on State St doesn’t wake up the powers that be in Santa Barbara, we may have past the point of no return. Stop with all the Santa Barbara knee jerk liberal excuses. Stop spending money on failed solutions. When any of the homeless break the law, bring them before a state board of psychologists to determine if they are competent. If not, have them institutionalized. And for those who say we don’t have the money, as these people are removed from our communities, we will be spending less and less on all the failed programs we have now.

GeneralTree Jul 30, 2021 03:48 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

Your saying that local government "liberals" aren't using powers which they don't actually have. Which is a double negative......Reagan took away powers to commit.

ChemicalSuperFreak Jul 30, 2021 04:15 PM
Transient Arrested for Threatening Child with Knife

We are well beyond the point of no return. Remember by in Feb of 2020, when the elderly couple and their 13-year old grandson were similarly attacked by the young transient couple on State Street? The couple were arrested, released and then less than 2 months later they were re-arrested for the murder of a woman in Santa Cruz. Over 1 year later and nothing has changed. Here's a link to the old Edhat article:


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