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Burglary suspect dupes UC Santa Cruz police with false identity

Published Jan 30

Burglary suspect dupes UC Santa Cruz police with false identity

UC SANTA CRUZ >> A 27-year-old transient woman, listed among Santa Cruz County’s Most Wanted and accused of car burglaries at UC Santa Cruz this week, duped police into releasing her by claiming to be a Benjamin Lomond woman.

UCSC police stated that Emily Kathleen Barnett posed as her former friend, Jessica Bella of Benjamin Lomond, on Mon to avoid being jailed for 3 felony warrants. Barnett gave police Bella’s name when jailed though she had no ID to prove it.

Barnett was listed as one of Santa Cruz County’s Most Wanted in May on suspicion of fraud, burglary and identity theft, but UCSC police officers let her slip through their fingers.

«Posted: 01/30/15, 12:54 PM PST | Updated: 46 secs ago
“We made a mistake,” UCSC Police Chief Nader Oweis remarked Friday.

“We’re actively working to locate Emily and arrest her and we’re definitely going to add additional charges of identity theft and providing false identification to a police officer.”…

The trouble started about 6:40 in the morning Mon when officers responded to a report of suspicious activity in a UCSC parking lot. They contacted Barnett and 44-year-old Patrick Wayne Sizemore of Santa Cruz in Sizemore’s silver four-door Saturn and found items stolen from vehicles on campus and from properties in Aptos, police said.

When officers asked Barnett her name, she gave officers Jessica Bella’s full name, address and birthdate rather than her own, Oweis said. She supplied no driver’s license or other ID.

The officer ran that info against law enforcement databases and it showed no outstanding warrants, commented Oweis.

Because Barnett and Sizemore also were complaining of pain related to heroin withdrawal, police called an ambulance. Paramedics determined they both needed to go to Dominican Hospital.

Sizemore was quickly cleared by physicians and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on suspicion of burglary and other charges, remarked Oweis. Barnett needed more medical attention. The officer typically stays at the hospital until the patient is ready to be booked into jail.

The officer instead cited and released her. Oweis remarked Fri that he was reviewing the case to understand why the officer left.

“She provided enough identifiable info to the officers to not give them a reason to doubt it,” remarked Oweis. “We’re very apologetic.”…

That’s little comfort to Jessica Bella who learned from friends Thu that media reports, including those in the Sentinel, identified her as having been involved in the crime.

Fri Bella and her family stated they were not jolly to see their name linked to burglary and drug paraphernalia charges.

“To have her name put out across the Central Coast as a thief and a junkie is disturbing,” commented Earl Bella, Jessica Bella’s father.

Jessica Bella stated “I was pretty upset because my family and my boss saw it.”…

When a friend texted Earl Bella about the news reports on Thu he commented he and Jessica went to UCSC police, showed ID and explained the situation. That was about three in the afternoon The officer realized the mistake in part because Jessica Bella and Barnett do not look alike.

Barnett is five ft. three inches tall and 115 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. Bella remarked she is five ft. three inches, “much heavier” and has blond hair and blue eyes.

Oweis, the police chief, stated he learned of the mistake late Thu night, but there was no attempt to reach the media, he said.

Bella stated she knew Barnett through her brother and lived with her in Felton about 5 years ago. They stopped being friends after a few months when Barnett’s alleged drug use got out of control, Bella said.

Bella also lost her driver’s license at a restaurant around that time, and she believes Barnett stole it. Bella never reported it stolen to police and added that she had not been a victim of identity theft before.

“I thought I was done with her for a lifetime, and all of a sudden she’s getting me in trouble again,” Bella said.

Police stated they are still looking for Barnett.

UC Santa Cruz police asks anyone with info to call 911 or 831-459-2231 ext. 1.

Reach the author at or follow Stephen on Twitter: @sbaxter_sc .



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