LA MESA, Calif. — Four teenagers are accused of assaulting a cab driver early Wednesday and stealing his taxi at gunpoint near a La Mesa restaurant.
The teens were arrested a short time later after abandoning the vehicle in a remote industrial area about six miles away, police reported.
The group of youths called for a cab shortly before 1 a.m. at Denny’s in the 6900 block of Alvarado Road in La Mesa, just east of San Diego State University, according to police.
After boarding the Blue Star Cab vehicle, the quartet began quarreling over the fare, Lt. Greg Runge said. Two of them then punched the driver, prompting him to jump out of the taxi, the lieutenant said.
At that point, one of the teens got behind the wheel of the cab, pointed a handgun at the victim and drove off, Runge said.
Using signals from a GPS-tracking device in the stolen cab, police tracked the vehicle down it in the 10700 block of US Elevator Road in Spring Valley about 20 minutes later. The taxi was unoccupied, but a gun had been left behind inside, the lieutenant said.
Officers searched the area with help from a sheriff’s helicopter, soon capturing the suspects within a block of the abandoned taxi. The victim and a witness positively identified the group as the alleged perpetrators in a curbside lineup.
Arrested were Jaden Razell Jones of Spring Valley and Kaitlyn Arianna Gendleman of El Cajon, both 19; 18-year-old Jacob Ronald Jensen of El Cajon; and a 17-year-old boy. The juvenile’s name was withheld because he is a minor.
The cabbie, who suffered a laceration and minor swelling to his face during the crime, declined medical treatment, Runge said.