Deputies find wanted Petaluma man hiding under Santa Rosa house

Photo: Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office


A wanted Petaluma man who crawled under a Santa Rosa home early Wednesday trying to evade Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies was arrested after a SWAT team cut a hole in the floor above where he was hiding, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Steven Molina, 47, threatened to kill deputies, their police dogs and himself before he was taken into custody, Sonoma County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Crum said Wednesday in a news release.

Deputies went to a Grand Avenue home about 5:30 a.m. looking for a different wanted man. Residents didn’t answer the knock on the front door but a deputy stationed out back saw people inside and they told him the man they sought wasn’t there.

Deputies then heard sounds coming from under the home and looking into a crawl space vent saw a man, recognized as Molina who was wanted on a $30,000 arrest warrant involving assault with a deadly weapon.

Molina crawled farther under the house, refusing to come out or negotiate.

A woman also was spotted under the house. Deputies told her to come out and she complied and was taken into custody. Deputies arrested Jessica Ybarra, 30, of Santa Rosa on a $50,000 arrest warrant for vehicle theft and drug charges, Crum said.

Efforts to capture Molina stalled. The sheriff’s team joined deputies, along with hostage negotiators.

About 7 a.m. deputies cut the floor hole and grabbed Molina, who fought as he was arrested, Crum said.

Molina was arrested on the Petaluma warrant and suspicion of threatening deputies, and booked into the Sonoma County Jail.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or On Twitter@rossmannreport.