Crazy taxi driver accused of grand theft auto
June 23, 2015
A 20-year-old Santa Barbara man managed to steal a taxi from the home of its driver, but the thief’s reckless driving quickly led to his arrest. [KEYT]
On Sunday afternoon, taxi driver Ron Goodman was in his Santa Barbara home when he heard a door shut inside the house. Goodman then noticed his wallet and keys were missing, and a few minutes later, he saw his taxi van was gone.
The taxi soon turned up in Goleta. Two pedestrian who had nearly been hit by the taxi van confronted the driver.
They noticed the van’s window was left down and a business card was inside. When they called the number on the card to report reckless driving to the taxi company, Goodman answered and said the van had just been stolen.
The pedestrians then kept an eye on the driver until Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies arrived. Deputies found suspect Jose Benitez not far from the vehicle at the time.
Police arrested Benitez for grand theft auto. Benitez was not initially charged with burglary, and investigators are seeking one or two other suspects in the case.
Even though police caught Benitez quickly, the taxi van had already been damaged in a collision. It is unclear where the collision occurred.
It also remains unknown where Goodman’s wallet and keys are. Likewise, the suspect or suspects attempted to peel the taxi decals off the van.
Despite losing his wallet and keys, Goodman says he feels sorry for the criminals. He also says that he is a lucky man.
“So many things happen in other areas of the world and this state that are so much worse, so I am super lucky, Goodman said.