SANTA CRUZ

Woman tracks down her stolen car

A 30-year-old auto theft suspect was arrested Wednesday night after a woman drove around looking for her stolen car, spotted it on Grant Street and confronted the driver, police said.

The driver, also a woman, told the victim she wasn't going to jail, then jumped out of the car and ran, Lt. Warren Barry said.

Police, including a K-9, searched for woman and found her hiding under a parked recreational vehicle on the 200 block of Avalon Street, Barry said.

Candice Marie Jones was arrested on suspicion of auto theft, resisting arrest and violating the terms of her probation, he said.

Jail records show she was still in custody Friday. The car was stolen on Button Street, police said.

Santa Cruz police ask anyone with information on the case to call the anonymous tipline at 831-420-5995 or leave a tip at www.santacruzpolice.com or on its cellphone application at m.santacruzpolice.com.

CAPITOLA

Metro bus catches fire in Capitola

A Metro bus with about 20 passengers aboard caught fire Friday evening, but the bus was evacuated before anyone was injured, Central Fire Protection District officials said.

The driver of the bus was dropping off a passenger on Capitola Road across from the mall at 5:24 p.m. when he looked in his rear-view mirror and noticed smoke coming out of the diesel engine, Battalion Chief John Walbridge said.

He evacuated the bus and hit a emergency button that notified a supervisor, Walbridge said.

When firefighters arrived, flames were burning into the passenger compartment, he said.

The engine was destroyed, while the passenger area sustained mostly smoke damage, he said.

Walbridge said the engine was so badly destroyed that the cause of the blaze may never be known.

He said it was unusual and that those buses are typically well-maintained.

SALINAS

Arraignment delayed in baby's death

The arraignment of Jesus Vargas Espinoza Jr., 47, accused in the death of a 10-month-old Castroville girl, was postponed Friday pending review of the charges by the public defender's office.

Espinoza is being held in lieu of bail of $1,260,000 after being charged with murder, felony child endangerment and an enhancement of causing the death of a child.

He was arrested Tuesday shortly before deputies found the body of Angelle Jenisis Negron buried near an overpass in Salinas. Espinoza's arraignment was rescheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

SALINAS

Farm owner sentenced to prison

The owner of a Salinas commercial strawberry farm has been sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay more than $223,000 in restitution for submitting fraudulent disaster assistance claims to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Marco Antonio Barbosa, 50, of Salinas, who operated Barbosa Farms JV with his wife, pleaded guilty Dec. 15, 2010, to falsely claiming he had suffered crop losses because of excessive heat, among other charges, federal officials said.

Barbosa defrauded two federal programs: the Crop Disaster Program and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. He received more than $223,000 in federal aid.

In addition to the prison term, District Court Judge Ronald M. Whyte ordered Barbosa to pay $223,484 in restitution, debarred him from any Department of Agriculture program or Farm Service Agency contract, and sentenced him to three years of supervised release.