Early Thursday morning, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department surrounded an otherwise quiet home on the 1400 block of Las Positas Place. They’d obtained an arrest warrant for one Travis Rosenblatt, a 35 year old Santa Barbara resident wanted in connection with the armed robbery of a Mobil gas station that took place in February 2013.
At approximately 5:00am, officers approached the home to serve the warrant. Almost immediately, two people exited the Las Positas residence, and were safely evacuated. Neither of them was the man the Sheriff’s department was looking for. As for Travis Rosenblatt, he wasn’t quite ready to come outside yet.
A reverse 911 call was made to neighbors living nearby to the house on Las Positas, informing folks that the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department was conducting an operation. For safety’s sake, residents were instructed to stay inside. Next, the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Team arrived at the residence to bring Rosenblatt outside.
In an interview with Santa Barbara Fox Affiliate KCOY, Rosenblatt’s next door neighbor David Ridings told reporters he watched from his back windows as SWAT officers climbed over the fence and lobbed smoke grenades at the house in an effort to extricate the wanted man. This was at approximately 5:30am.
What was initially thought to be shots fired turned out to be blast reports from SWAT concussion grenades, when the smoke bombs failed to flush out Rosenblatt. All in all, the standoff lasted about 2 & 1/2 hours, before Travis surrendered himself peacefully and unarmed to the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department.
According to Kelly Hoover, an investigator with Santa Barbara SD, Rosenblatt was recently linked to the Mobil robbery through DNA evidence left behind at the scene of the crime. Allegedly, Rosenblatt used a knife to slash the gas station attendant’s tires, before coming inside and cutting the electrical cord to the cash register. The suspect then hoisted the register off the counter and smashed it to the ground like an oversized plastic piggy bank before scooping up several handfuls of cash and making off into the night.
Rosenblatt was previously convicted of committing a bank robbery back in 2006, also in Santa Barbara County. His roommates; a young man and woman who have asked not to be identified, described him as “a quiet man who kept to himself”. Authorities do not believe they have any role in this crime.
Rosenblatt was formally charged with armed robbery on Thursday morning, and his bail has been set at $500,000. He is currently in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail.