Car Thief's Pursuit Ends in Home Depot Parking Lot

The suspect led deputies on a chase from Lakeside to Lemon Grove, but was eventually arrested

A man accused of stealing a car led deputies on a pursuit from Lakeside to Lemon Grove Thursday that ended in the parking lot of a Home Depot store.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said a bystander reported a suspicious man breaking into a parked car and stealing it in the 1000 block of Barona Road in Lakeside just before 12:30 p.m.

Deputies searched the area and spotted the suspect driving the stolen car, and a pursuit ensued. The chase hit speeds of 90 mph on the freeway, officials said, and 30 mph on residential streets.

The chase ended about 20 miles later in the parking lot of a Home Depot in the 7500 block of Broadway in Lemon Grove, but officials said the man refused to come out of the car.

Deputies surrounded the stolen vehicle and secured the area, keeping shoppers back, as they feared the suspect may have been armed.

Officials deployed pepper balls and bean bag rounds towards the car, but the suspect did not budge. K-9 deputies were then sent toward the vehicle and the suspect came out.

The man – appearing a bit disheveled but acting calmly – was surrounded by deputies and taken into custody without incident. Handcuffed, deputies sat him on the ground and patted him down.

He was then led to an ambulance where he was evaluated by medics for some injuries sustained from the contact with K-9 officers. Aerial footage showed the suspect being interviewed by deputies.

No one was injured. By 1:20 p.m., deputies began clearing from the scene at the Home Depot parking lot.

Deputy Lorenzo Ortiz said the car involved in the chase had been reported stolen two days ago out of Spring Valley. He said investigators are looking into the suspect's background to see if he has a criminal record. The suspect’s name was not immediately released.

Alana Snyder, a shopper at Home Depot, told NBC 7 she witnessed roughly 15 deputy vehicles descend on the parking lot near the home improvement store and surround the suspect's car.

Snyder said she heard some "pop" sounds as deputies tried different tactics to get the suspect to surrender and said she was shocked by the law enforcement action during what was, for her, a quick, 15-minute trip to the store.

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