EL CAJON, Calif. – Vigilantes took down a car thief in El Cajon after a street pursuit through backyards and alleyways and FOX 5 cameras were rolling for it all.
The would-be car thief was stopped by a group of BMW of El Cajon employees around noon after the man tried to steal a car right off the lot on El Cajon Boulevard.
“We are all suspicious,” said a dealership salesman who interacted with the man. “I left him and five minutes later I hear thump and guys are running everywhere.”
Richard Gonzales was sitting in the passenger seat of a brand new BMW 3 Series when the man jumped in the car and took off.
“He hit several parked cars and then came to a stop,” said Gonzales. “The guy tried to steal a car, hit a car that’s already sold, and took off on foot.”
That’s when dealership employees gave chase. About half a dozen of them spread out into the neighborhood chasing him through backyards and alleys, picking up tools as weapons along the way.
Retired police officer Jack Leary was also circling the neighborhood in his car looking for the man when he practically ran into him at an intersection on Lemon Avenue.
“I stopped and he said, ‘Can I get in your car?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, get in the car,'” said Leary. “He said, ‘Get me out of here,’ and I said, ‘No, you’re under arrest!’ “
Leary held him until the cops arrived about five minutes later. He refused to get out of the car, so the police used a dog to force him out.
“They put the dog on him he got outta the car then!” Leary said.
From there, the excitement was all over in about 20 minutes. An ambulance came to take the suspect away. Witnesses said he was clearly under the influence of something. He suffered minor injuries from the dog but was expected to go to jail after being treated.