Jan 20

Santa Margarita crime wave

Downtown Santa Margarita in 1969 looks much like 2012. Store fronts along G street. Michael Raphael ©The Tribune

It would not take much to return Santa Margarita to the 1960s.

Only in the last year or two has the building with the Royal Crown billboard been torn down. This photo was made by Michael Raphael to accompany a story about a mini-crime wave in town. Published May 29, 1969 the story outlined how several businesses on G street had been hit by burglars. The Santa Margarita Inn had lost $500 in televisions and the owner had 60 gallons of gasoline siphoned off over the course of several days. The Texaco station had been hit and the community hall. A few residents were sleeping in their stores with shotguns at the ready. It seemed like the perp knew where the easy targets were avoiding the places with alarms, stout fences and lights. Some business owners thought local kids were at the root of the problem and wished there was a  full-time sheriff’s deputy in town. In a county the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined that is not a realistic goal then or now. Lt. Arnie Goble explained the sheriff’s day crew of two units covered from Cuesta Grade to Monterey and Kern County but could often respond to a call within 10 minutes. Still the townspeople grumbled about soft treatment of juvenile offenders by the courts and sheriff.

The Santa Margarita Historical Society has an excellent website outlining their history from Native American settlers to the present.

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