General Crime

Erik Vlach accidently shot in the foot leads to four arrest for alleged home invasion in Santa Cruz County


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A Scotts Valley man who went to a hospital with a gunshot wound to his foot last Friday was arrested after the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office learned his alleged accomplice in a robbery accidentally shot him, deputies said. Santa Cruz sheriff’s deputies were dispatched last Friday to Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz on a report of a person there with a gunshot injury, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Kelly Kent.

Erik Vlach, 24, explained to deputies he received the wound to his foot from an unknown assailant but soon conceded that a friend, 19-year-old Jeremy Spencer, of Capitola, mistakenly shot him, Kent reported. Sheriff’s detectives then tied Vlach and Spencer to a home invasion robbery in the 1500 block of 30th Avenue in the unincorporated county area of Live Oak that happened near the time of the shooting, deputies said.

The two men allegedly entered the home armed with handguns and wearing black t-shirts covering their faces and stole cash, marijuana, electronics and a rifle before fleeing, Kent said. Deputies arrested Vlach and Spencer on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy, and burglary and Spencer also on assault with a deadly weapon, felon in possession of a firearm and negligent discharge of a firearm, deputies said. They were booked into the county jail, where the bail for each was set at $100,000, according to Kent.

After an investigation, detectives found the property stolen from the home inside a nearby residence on the same block of 30th Avenue in Live Oak, where they arrested 19-year-old Brandon Husted on suspicion of possession of stolen property, conspiracy and a probation violation, deputies said. Husted was booked into the county jail with a bail amount of $10,000. A fourth suspect, 19-year-old Esteban Sanchez, of Live Oak, was also arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property but was released on his own recognizance at the scene, Kent said.

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