British national arrested for making bomb threat at Bank of America in Santa Barbara

April 5, 2024


Police officers arrested a British national with the surname Paradise for allegedly making a bomb threat at a Bank of America branch in Santa Barbara on Thursday. 

Shortly before 2 p.m., a man reportedly walked into the Bank of America branch at 834 State Street and told a teller he had an explosive device in a bag he was carrying. The man then sat on the floor of bank with the bag, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Bank employees called 911 and began evacuating the branch. Officers immediately came out to the scene and contacted the suspect. Following a brief negotiation, officers took the man into custody without further incident. 

Out of an abundance of caution, the Santa Barbara County Bomb Squad came to the bank and thoroughly checked the man’s bag. Investigators did not find an explosive device.

Police identified the man as 35-year-old Stephen Samuel Paradise, a resident of Bristol, England. Authorities notified the British consulate of Paradise’s arrest. 

Mental health professionals met with Paradise at the police station before officers transported him to the Santa Barbara County Jail. Authorities booked him on charges of felony false bomb threats and felony terrorist threats with Paradise’s bail set at $50,000.

Officials closed State Street and Canon Perido Street to vehicle and pedestrian traffic for several hours. The area reopened at about 4 p.m.

Police detectives are continuing to investigate the incident. 


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