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Machete-tossing panhandler arrested in Santa Barbara, police say

April 03, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein

There's aggressive panhandling, and then there's the fearsome strategy allegedly employed by Trevor Ian Ruggles.

Authorities said Ruggles was arrested Monday on suspicion of multiple misdemeanors after a Santa Barbara police community services liaison observed him tossing a 22-inch machete into the air while cursing and yelling to passersby, “Give me your ... money.”

His tactic didn't win much sympathy or result in donations from pedestrians, who were startled and hurried way, police said.

When officers approached him on the 500 block of State Street, one of the city's main thoroughfares, Ruggles sheathed his machete, which was later seized as evidence, authorities said.

Ruggles, described as a transient originally from North Carolina, was cited for aggressive panhandling and carrying a knife in plain view with a blade in excess of 3 inches. Although normally infractions those violations can be filed as misdemeanors, authorities said.

Ruggles also was found to have an outstanding, non-extraditable, $5,000 misdemeanor warrant for an alleged municipal-code violation in Santa Monica. He was issued a notice to appear in court in Los Angeles County for that warrant.

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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