YUBA CITY (CBS13) — The search for a shoplifting suspect took an unusual twist with the suspect accused of stealing a patrol car.
“How can you be so brazen and just think you’re going to be able to pull something off like that,” said Roman Dhami of Yuba City.
The wild chase started with a suspect running across Highway 20 around 7:30 Saturday night. That was only the beginning of several dangerous decisions.
Officers initially responded to a call at Home Depot of a man stealing tools. Police spotted the suspect, 38-year-old James Estes, and began to chase him on foot. That’s when they say he doubled back and stole a squad car.
After topping speeds of 70 miles per hour, the chase quickly ended with the suspect sideswiping another vehicle and crashing the patrol car onto a curb.
“He was trying to jump the fence,” Dhami said as she showed video they took from Saturday evening.
She added the suspect, now without pants, was trying to get into her backyard.
“In just a split second, they got out of the car and tackled him to the ground,” she said. “He was like, ‘You know, I messed up, I messed up,’ and he kind of said that repetitively until they took him into the police car.”
This theft comes just two weeks after a a man stole a CHP patrol car and then tried to hijack a bus at Sac State.
Many people are surprised by the sudden rash of stolen public safety vehicles.
“I don’t know how they even get in there and have the nerve to do something like that,” said another neighbor Karen Hansen.
Neighbors here are glad it ended without anyone getting seriously hurt.
“It could’ve gone a whole different way if YCPD hadn’t been on it and right there on his tail,” Dhami said.
In this case, the keys were left in the ignition, but Yuba City police say their new patrol cars will be equipped with a key fob worn by the officer to prevent suspects from driving off.