PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — Authorities say they had to use spike strips on one of their own patrol vehicles after it was stolen during a shift change Wednesday morning.
The incident started at the El Dorado County Sheriff’s South Lake Tahoe office. A deputy says they noticed their loaded patrol SUV was missing from the parking lot during a shift change.
The stolen patrol vehicle was soon tracked heading west on Highway 50. Other area law enforcement agencies were alerted and authorities were soon behind the stolen patrol car near Camino.
Deputies say the driver, however, wouldn’t stop.
Placerville police had to use a spike strip, laid down on Highway 50 near Schnell School Road, to disable the stolen patrol vehicle. With a tire now popped, the stolen vehicle stopped at Spring Street and the driver was taken into custody.
The suspect has been identified as Jacob Randall Wolfe. Deputies say he was wearing an El Dorado County Sheriff’s baseball cap which he probably found in the vehicle when he was arrested.
Nothing else was missing from the patrol vehicle, deputies say. Sergeant Anthony Prencipe said that the patrol car was left running in the Tahoe substation parking lot.
CBS13 asked if the deputy violated protocol by leaving the car running. Prencipe said no, because the equipment in the vehicles must be powered up at all times.
“We have computers. We have cameras. We have all of these things that need to stay on and running in order to do our jobs,” Prencipe said.
The Sheriff’s Office stared that their newer patrol vehicles have technology that could prevent a situation like this from happening.
“They’re made with a shutoff switch, that way we can leave the vehicle running and take the keys out. And if it goes to be put into drive, it’ll automatically shut down,” Prencipe said. “Our older vehicles, which we still have a few left up there, aren’t equipped with this.”
Investigators are now trying to figure out how the suspect was able to get into the patrol vehicle.