RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (KABC) -- Three stolen car suspects were arrested by Rancho Cucamonga police after a bizarre set of circumstances that involved a vehicle collision, an alleged kidnapping and a brief foot pursuit involving police.
It started around 12:30 p.m. Monday, when an automatic license-plate reader scanned the plate of a stolen vehicle being driven through Rancho Cucamonga. The vehicle had been reported stolen out of Los Angeles on Sunday.
Rancho Cucamonga police said the thieves tried to evade authorities when they struck another vehicle on Baseline Street near Haven Avenue. The occupants of that vehicle were unhurt, but police said the suspect vehicle then lost control, and flipped over.
The three suspects inside the stolen vehicle tried to flee the scene.
"Two of the suspects were immediately taken into custody by deputies," said Deputy Jacob Bailey. "One suspect fled into a residential area."
Police said the suspect then got into the car of an unsuspecting victim, asking for help. But the driver soon realized something wasn't right with his passenger.
"I think at that point the individual realized the police were looking for the suspect in that car," said Bailey. "It was considered a kidnapping."
Police said tips from the public helped them find the vehicle quickly. When police used lights and sirens to stop the vehicle, the suspect got out and ran toward a nearby complex of town homes at the intersection of Church Street and Haven Avenue.
"Suddenly, I heard a banging sound on my patio door," said Alan Wong.
Wong said he came face-to-face with the suspect at his back patio door, and the suspect turned around and ran. Wong called 911, and he said police arrived within two minutes.
"That's when they went in with their guns and found him in the back," said another neighbor. Wong said the suspect was found hiding in a trash can.
As for the automatic license-plate reader systems spread throughout the city?
"We want to make sure we're doing what we can to protect our residents," said Bailey. "They're an added benefit. It gives us a chance to stop a lot of the crime that was occurring."
"I'm just so glad it turned out like it did," said Lady Ruth Riley, who lives in the complex where the final suspect was caught. "The thief got caught, and maybe that will stop some of the other ones."