Rooftop Burglar Wearing Ski Mask Arrested

Authored on
September 9, 2021

On September 8, 2021, around 10:40pm, Santa Barbara Police Combined Communications Center received a report from a concerned community member about a suspicious subject that was on the roof of a local jewelry store located in the 600 block of North Milpas Street. The subject was dressed in all black clothing and wearing a black ski type mask.

The community member reported they could see a subject using power tools to cut into the rooftop. Numerous Officers covertly responded to the area to provide containment and set up a perimeter to prevent the suspect from potentially fleeing. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Office responded with a police K-9 to assist.

The business being burgled has a large roof top that conjoins several other businesses in that block. The suspect, Joel P. Morelos Jr., a 37-year-old Santa Barbara resident, learned of the Officers presence and started running back and forth on the large roof to flee from law enforcement. During this time, Morelos was able to partially gain access to another local business through a large rooftop air vent in an attempt to evade. Officers were able to gain access to the roof and after a short rooftop foot pursuit apprehended Morelos.

Officers located numerous burglary tools that Morelos was using. Morelos was arrested approximately 40 minutes after the initial call was received by a Santa Barbara Police Dispatcher. Detectives were called to assist in this case and learned Morelos may be connected to additional, similar burglaries in the City of Santa Barbara.

Morelos was booked at Santa Barbara County Jail for Attempted Burglary (felony), Looting/Theft During a State of Emergency (felony), Vandalism (felony), Resisting Arrest (misdemeanor), Providing a False Name (misdemeanor), and Possession of Burglary Tools (misdemeanor). Morelos is being held on $500,000 bail.

The other potential related burglaries are currently under investigation and no other information can be released at this time.

Media Attached 

Photo 1 – “Ski Type Mask

Photo 2 – Burglary Tools



Contact Info


735 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101 

P: (805) 963-0611
F: (805) 564-5475