A man authorities say is armed, and dangerous is the object of a search in Santa Barbara County, after he eluded deputies in a wild chase in which he drove against traffic on Highway 101.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the 4100 block of Via Real, in Carpinteria just after three this morning, after a couple saw a man stealing their car. They say he threatened them, and then tried to drive it away, but ended up crashing it. The man then jumped into a waiting van, which had been stolen in Oxnard.
There was a high speed chase which deputies ended over safety concerns, when the van ended up going the wrong way on Highway 101. The pursuit resumed where the van got off the freeway, and then back on headed northbound. A deputy used a patrol car to force the van off the road.
Juan Miguel Bejar, who was wanted for the car theft, and was driving the van escaped on foot. His brother, and wife were arrested at the scene. Numerous burglary tools were found in the van. Detectives say Bejar has an extensive criminal history, and may be armed.
Investigators now think he was involved in a similar incident in Ventura December 5th, in which also eluded officers after a pursuit.