Wild twist in chase: couple reported false carjacking on themselves, police say

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Saturday, May 28, 2016
Two suspects in a Corolla crashed in La Puente after a police chase and carjacking in West Covina, officials said.
Two suspects in a Corolla crashed in La Puente after a police chase and carjacking in West Covina, officials said.

LA PUENTE, Calif. (KABC) -- A false report of a carjacking in West Covina led to a police chase and crash that critically injured a woman and an 8-year-old child, police said.

The wild incident started just before 7 p.m. with a report of a woman being carjacked at gunpoint at the West Covina Mall.

Officers spotted the 2015 Toyota Corolla described by the 911 caller and tried to pull it over, but the driver kept going, according to the West Covina Police Department.

The chase ended a few minutes later when the Corolla crashed into another vehicle in La Puente near Amar Road and Willow Avenue.

A woman and an 8-year-old child were critically injured and transported to an area hospital. They are expected to survive, police said.

A male suspect who was a passenger in the stolen car tried to flee on foot, but officers with a K-9 unit were able to catch him. The K-9 grabbed onto the man's arm, chomping down to subdue him. The female driver was also taken into custody.

After the chase ended and police investigated they discovered a surprising twist: The couple had apparently called the carjacking report on themselves.

Earlier in the day they had been involved in an altercation with employees at the West Covina Mall and were escorted out by security, investigators said.

Soon after that, police say, the couple called in a carjacking report, and gave a description of their own vehicle and themselves.

Investigators are trying to understand why they made the false report on themselves, but speculate it was a diversionary tactic gone wrong.

"It's possible that they thought there were in trouble for something that occurred at the mall," said West Covina Police Department Lt. Travis Tibbetts. "And they were trying to divert police attention so they could get away from the area. For some reason they decided to report a carjacking, describing their own car and themselves as the suspects."

The male suspect sustained injuries from the canine and the collision, while the woman, who is the registered owner of the Corolla, was also injured in the crash. Both suspects were transported to a local hospital.

Police did not find a gun at the scene. The two suspects will be booked for felony evading and assault with a deadly weapon against the collision victims, Tibbetts said.