San Diego

Suspect Steals Park Ranger's Truck, Prompts High-Speed Pursuit Near Mission Hills

The suspect fled on city streets around Mission Hills before abandoning the stole city truck at Ibis Street and University Avenue, and running into a canyon

A man stole a San Diego park ranger’s work truck Thursday morning near Balboa Park and led police on a high-speed pursuit through streets surrounding Mission Hills.

The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said the city worker reported that his work truck – a white Ford Ranger – had been stolen just before 7:30 a.m. at Village Place and Park Boulevard near Balboa Park.

At around 7:35 a.m., police spotted the truck in traffic on northbound State Route 163, heading toward the Quince Street exit. Sirens blazing, police began pursuing the truck as the driver got off the freeway and fled onto city streets at speeds in excess of 60 mph.

The suspect drove west through Mission Hills. He stopped the truck at Ibis Street and West University Avenue, got out and started running. Police gave chase and quickly captured the suspect in a canyon near the 4100-block of Hawk Street, the SDPD said.

The man was arrested and loaded into the back of a police car.

Witness Madeline Crisci was home when she noticed the pursuit coming to an end in her neighborhood. She said officers were swift in taking the suspect into custody without further trouble. No one was hurt during the pursuit.

"They were really nice to him, you know? He didn't even have shoes or socks on; he was barefooted," Crisci told NBC 7. "Isn't that weird?"

Inside the stolen truck, a pair of flip-flops was scattered on the seat. The crust of a sandwich was left near the sandals.

The park ranger who had his truck stolen told NBC 7 the only thing the suspect took from inside the vehicle was a sandwich he had packed himself for lunch.

At this point, it is unclear how the man was able to steal the city truck. The suspect's name was not immediately released by police.

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