A suspected truck thief in Fresno may be having second thoughts about the radio conversation he had with the vehicle’s owner Monday morning, after the owner showed up minutes later and held the suspect at gunpoint.
Fresno police Sgt. Doug Goertzen of the Career Criminal Auto Theft Team indicated the conversation made it much easier for his officers to apprehend the man and detain a second suspect.
Tuesday morning, police named the driver: Christopher Garcia, 24, of Fresno. He was found to be on felony probation for domestic violence and also wanted for a prior domestic violence case. He was booked into the Fresno County Jail for felony auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, domestic violence charges and probation violation.
The plumbing truck was stolen shortly before 9 a.m. at a construction site at Hughes and Ashlan avenues in northwest Fresno.
Police say a plumbing crew was setting up when the suspect and a second man jumped into the truck and sped east on Ashlan. Members of the crew, including the owner, jumped in other vehicles in pursuit.
Although the crew apparently lost sight of the suspect, they were able to hail him on the truck’s two-way radio. Goertzen said the suspect told the crew where he was heading and a few minutes later, the plumbers arrived at East El Monte Way near South Backer Avenue.
The truck’s owner, who has a concealed-weapons permit, then held the suspects at gunpoint until police arrived. Police arrested one of the men and detained the other.
Goertzen said police recommend that citizens wait for officers instead of attempting to detain suspects themselves but indicated the truck owner was in the clear in making the bust.