Crime

Hobby Lobby rumble: Citizen smashes suspected shoplifters’ car window with bat

Fresno police say the window of a suspects’ Mitsuibishi was smashed during wild pursuit.
Fresno police say the window of a suspects’ Mitsuibishi was smashed during wild pursuit. FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT

A man and a woman were in custody Monday afternoon after two people stealing merchandise from the Hobby Lobby store on North Blackstone Avenue were interrupted by another couple who pursued the suspects, police said.

A metal bar was thrown at the pursuers and a man involved in the chase smashed the back window of the suspects’ car before the chase ended near Shaw and West avenues, according to Lt. Joe Gomez.

In custody are Michael Rodriguez, 44, and Cheryl Lynn Davis, 39, on charges of shoplifting. Rodriguez was also cited for speeding.

Gomez said police were sent to Sierra and Palm avenues shortly before 1 p.m. for a report of a man chasing another man with a baseball bat. Two vehicles, a black sedan and a silver sedan, were also involved in the incident.

At the same time, officers were alerted to a theft at Hobby Lobby, where a suspect in a Mitsubishi Mirage reportedly hurled a wrench at another car. Moments later, a motorcycle officer saw a matching Mitsubishi speeding south on West from Barstow and pulled it over. He noticed the car’s back window was shattered.

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Cheryl Lynn Davis, 39 FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT

Police then put the incidents together, and determined that a man and a woman in a Mitsubishi had parked in an alley behind the Hobby Lobby, and the man began stealing a large amount of merchandise from the store, Gomez said.

As the couple began to leave, another couple drove up, saw what was occurring and began to follow the Mitsubishi and photograph the car. This angered the couple in the Mitsubishi, and the man in that car threw a metal bar at the pursuers, damaging their car, prompting the male witness to smash the suspects’ rear window. Gomez said no one was injured.

The lieutenant added that neither party sought to pursue charges for damages to their vehicles during the incident.

Jim Guy: 559-441-6339

A native of Colorado, Jim Guy studied political science, Latin American politics and Spanish literature at Fresno State University, and advanced Spanish grammar in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
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