Police arrest suspected truck thief following brief pursuit

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif -- A suspected truck thief was arrested following a brief police pursuit in Imperial Beach Tuesday afternoon, officials say.

A deputy started chasing a Ford F-250 work truck after he saw it run a stop sign. The pickup matched the description of a work vehicle that had been reported stolen earlier in the day.

"There was a vehicle that he located that kind of rolled through a stop sign, so as he tried to conduct a traffic enforcement stop the vehicle fled,” said Sheriff's Sgt. Michael Cruz .

The driver then led the deputy on a brief chase through Imperial Beach. After a few blocks, the driver pulled over, ditched the truck and ran off. Witnesses told FOX 5 the chase ended around 12:30 p.m.  The driver jumped over a fence and disappeared.  Deputies began searching for the man, and residents told them the the suspect was hiding in a garage. Deputies took him into custody without incident.

The suspect told deputies that he was having trouble breathing, so they called an ambulance. As paramedics wheeled him in a gurney to the ambulance, he shouted to news cameras, saying, "I didn't do it! I'm innocent."

Deputies said he would be charged with vehicle theft and possession of stolen property.

The pickup was returned to its owner.

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