Video Report By Marcella Lee, Anchor/Reporter - bio | email
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Two suspected car thieves are in custody Wednesday, after leading police on a short case that ended in a Clairemont neighborhood.
The suspects were first spotted around 7:40 a.m. at the Estancia Hotel in La Jolla. They were driving a stolen Chevy Tahoe.
"The officers ran the plates, started a pursuit. We lost the vehicle," explained Sgt. Tom Underwood with the San Diego Police Department.
Then, residents in a Clairemont neighborhood called police to report a Chevy Tahoe driving erratically in their area.
Police arrived on scene at Luna Avenue and Hidalgo Avenue and started searching for the two suspects, going door-to-door, after discovering that they were hiding out on people's properties shortly after abandoning the vehicle. It's unknown if the suspects ever tried to enter the homes.
Two elementary schools in the area - Alcott and Cadman - were prepared to go on lockdown, if needed.
Officers finally found both suspects, identified as: Courtney Peterson, who was found hiding behind some trash cans and Andrew Smith, who was found hiding in a shed in a backyard.
The suspects were taken into custody without incident, arrested on stolen vehicle charges. Police tell News 8 that they believe the pair may also be involved in a string of shoplifting cases at local grocery stores, this after taking inventory of the suspects' belongings, which included two bottles of hard liquor stuffed in the pocket behind the driver's seat.
Tuesday, officers passed out flyers at La Jolla area hotels with information about the suspects, who are also wanted in connection to burglary and identity theft cases. These flyers prompted an employee at the Estancia Hotel to call police Wednesday morning, after spotting the two suspects on the hotel grounds.
Police say there could be two more suspects involved and are continuing their investigation.