A San Diego man takes chase after spotting his prized, custom motorcycle on the way home from reporting it stolen.
"It's not everyday that you get to be involved in a high speed chase," said Lawrence Howard.
Howard loves his Triumph motorcycle. But he figured it was gone forever, when it was taken on Sunday night, near Balboa Park.
It was taken from Thorn Street while Howard was visiting some friends. They searched the neighborhood, called police, and figured the Triumph was gone for good.
Howard's two friends gave him a ride home in their Toyota Camry. That's when Howard spotted his stolen bike.
"He came at us literally at the same time that we were merging on to the freeway," said Howard.
They followed the motorcycle east on highway 94.
"I mean I'd already lost it once, there it is. I didn't want to have to lose it again," said Howard.
"At that point, my adrenaline just shot up, because there's no way in heck we're going to let this guy out of our sight," said his friend, Matt Ellis.
While Ellis tailed the suspect to Home Avenue, Howard stayed on the phone with police.
"I'm also trying to look out the back window going, ‘please, please, please.’ I'm hoping these guys show up soon, because eventually, there's no way I would have been able to stay with him," said Ellis.
On Euclid Avenue, police closed in on the suspect.
"As soon as they turned on their lights, he gassed it and took off," said Howard.
The suspect ditched the bike and ran towards this apartment building. Police found him hiding in the laundry room.
Suspect Mitchell Lautner is accused of possessing stolen property, evading police, and other felonies. He pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.
No one was hurt or killed.
Howard has his Triumph back, and his friends say police are the real heroes.
"They do their job, and they save you tens of thousands of bucks, protect you and put a bad guy in jail. That's a special moment," said Ellis.