Man steals 1987 Oldsmobile, leads deputies on chase in Rancho Santa Fe

Morning chase ends with spike strip, arrest on El Camino Real in San Diego


A man stole a car from a Rancho Santa Fe home and led deputies on a chase into north San Diego on Thursday morning, Oct. 21, a sheriff’s sergeant said.

(File photo)

The incident started with a report from Rancho Santa Fe security officers of what appeared to be a solo-vehicle crash near a home on Puerta Del Sol, north of Via De La Valle, Sgt. Luke Berhalter said in a news release.

Berhalter said firefighters woke up the driver — but he did not make it clear whether the driver had been asleep or had passed out.

Firefighters saw a handgun in the car. The driver, whose girlfriend was in the passenger’s seat, told the fire crew to “get back,” Berhalter said. They did.

Sheriff’s deputies, a department helicopter and sheriff’s dog and handler were called to the scene. When they arrived, they found the car empty.

About the same time, residents started calling 911 to report seeing a man — who matched the description of the missing driver — running on their property, Berhalter said, and a woman called to say a man had just stolen her 1987 Oldsmobile.

A deputy spotted the Oldsmobile pulling out of the driveway of the home on Via Del Alba off Puenta De Sol. The driver — the man the deputies were searching for — sped off. The deputy gave chase.

At some point, deputies rolled out a spike strip and flattened the tires of the stolen car, which eventually came to a stop on El Camino Real in Carmel Valley, Berhalter said. Deputies arrested him at gunpoint.

Berhalter said the man didn’t have a firearm and told deputies that the one spotted earlier was a toy gun.

The man was jailed on suspicion of burglary, car theft and felony evading of authorities. Berhalter said the girlfriend was not harmed and not considered a suspect, but he did not say where or how deputies found her.