Crime

Atascadero suspect arrested after stolen vehicle chase, school shelter-in-place

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Atascadero police arrested a man Tuesday afternoon following a chase that prompted several schools to shelter in place.

Officers responded about 1:19 p.m. Tuesday to reports of a suspicious person at Chalk Mountain Liquor and Deli in the 9900 block of El Camino Real, according to an Atascadero Police Department news release.

A man wearing a Dodgers baseball jersey was seen removing a license plate from a pickup truck, police said. The man removed the entire front license plate, and partially removed the rear plate, the release said.

A bystander was able to provide the plate number to a police dispatcher, who found it belongs to a vehicle stolen from Buellton, according to police.

Officers located the vehicle near El Camino Real and Highway 41 and initiated a traffic stop, the release said.

A short vehicle pursuit ensued, and the suspect crashed into a tree on Lewis Avenue near Atascadero Middle School, police said.

According to police, the man fled on foot into a creek bed by Lewis Bridge, and officers established a perimeter with help from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office canine unit and a CHP helicopter.

Shelter-in-place procedures were initiated during the search at the middle school, the Atascadero Fine Arts Academy and special education classrooms, according to Atascadero Unified School District.

Officers located the suspect in the creek bed, and he was taken into custody without incident.

The suspect refused to identify himself when he was arrested, police said. He had not been booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to booking logs.

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