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Resident fires warning shot toward Ben Lomond burglar

Two suspects arrested following multiple pursuits

BEN LOMOND, Calif. - Two suspects are behind bars after deputies were allegedly led on multiple pursuits through the Santa Cruz Mountains. 

Deputies responded to a report of a woman trespassing at a home in Ben Lomond Monday afternoon. 

According to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office, the woman left the area in a stolen Lexus sedan, leaving behind her pet dog as she drove away.

Deputies looked up the abandoned dog's information and discovered the dog was registered to 32-year-old Samantha Vetter. After reviewing video taken during the burglary, deputies familiar with the suspect confirmed it was Vetter. 

During the chase, deputies said Vetter refused to stop and continued to drive over the speed limit. 

"The deputies followed the woman, but given the road construction and one-way closure at the Highway 9 washout, the deputies stopped pursuing the speeding Lexus as it neared Brookdale, fearing for public safety," said the sheriff's office. 

Another deputy said the Lexus was spotted in downtown Boulder Creek and a second pursuit began. 

"During the pursuit, deputies determined that the woman had stolen firearms and other property from the house," the sheriff's office said. 

Vetter reportedly sped away, and the deputy lost sight of her. 

Later in the evening, residents on Branciforte Drive reported a silver Lexus blocking a driveway and a woman walking door to door asking for gas and for residents to not call police. 

Deputies responded and said they found 45-year-old Chad Tartala with the Lexus. According to authorities, all of the stolen property from the earlier burglary was in the car, including stolen guns.

"A shelter-in-place reverse 911 call was issued to the area because of the public safety threat that Samantha represented," said the sheriff's office. 

The sheriff's office said a resident south on Branciforte Drive saw Vetter climb over his driveway fence and approach his house. The resident had a gun and told Vetter to stop as she walked toward him. 

"Finally, fearing for his and his family’s safety, the resident fired a single warning shot into the soft dirt in front of his porch," the sheriff's office said. 

Vetter laid flat on the ground and deputies took her into custody. Deputies said they found her in possession of the keys to the Lexus as well as keys to another Branciforte Drive address. 

Vetter was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of numerous felonies, including residential burglary, felon in possession of firearms, vehicle theft, and reckless evasion. 

Tartala was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on narcotics and stolen property charges. 

The sheriff's office said no charges are being sought against the homeowner who assisted in the capture of Vetter. 


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