A man accused of robbing a bank in Mira Mesa Wednesday fled to a neighborhood in the North County, hopping into backyards and jumping fences as police chased him and, eventually, put him in handcuffs.
The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said the suspect, now identified as Thomas Dufek, 29, robbed a Navy Federal Credit Union on Black Mountain Road at around 9:20 a.m. He walked up to a teller window, told the teller this was a robbery and demanded she give him all of the cash in her drawer. The teller followed Dufek's orders and he then left the bank.
SDPD officers arrived at the scene in time to spot Dufek driving away in a white Toyota pick-up truck. Dufek sped off, prompting a pursuit onto northbound Interstate 15, police said.
Eventually, the suspected bank bandit exited State Route 78 in San Marcos; deputies with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) took over the pursuit from there.
A spike strip was deployed, which disabled Dufek's truck. Just after 10:05 a.m., the suspect ditched his car near Palomar Airport Road and Paseo Valindo in Carlsbad, and fled on foot.
With officers chasing after him, Dufek ran into a neighborhood, making his way into the backyards of homes. News helicopter footage showed him hopping fences, going from yard to yard, in an effort to escape police. After jumping through several yards, he was arrested by officers.
NBC 7 spoke with a customer who was inside the Scripps Ranch bank during the robbery. She said she didn’t notice the suspect behind her because he was very quiet.
The woman only found out a robbery had taken place when a teller informed her, after Dufek had already left the bank.
Dufek was booked into jail for the bank robbery. No one was hurt in the robbery or pursuit.