On Friday, October 8th, at about 4:37 p.m., an elderly female victim was walking to her vehicle in the parking lot in the 3700 block of W. Fifth Street when suspect Jose Manuel Rocha, age 27 resident of Santa Maria, approached her as she was attempting to enter her vehicle. 

Suspect Rocha grabbed the victim, including her keys, and demanded her car. An alert good Samaritan witness observed the crime in progress and intervened, causing suspect Rocha to divert his attention towards the witness and aggression on to him.  At the time, the witness directed the victim to get into her car and leave the scene. The victim followed the witness’ direction and drove away. 

Suspect Rocha tried fleeing the scene on foot, however the witness entered his vehicle and followed suspect Rocha, keeping him in view the entire time, until police arrived. Rocha was positively identified during an infield lineup and was subsequently arrested for the felony charge of attempted carjacking.

Officers later determined that Rocha is currently on parole out of Santa Maria.