A convicted felon who fled from Hemet police answering a theft call from a store stole a police car Tuesday before being arrested, police said.
It all started when officers were called to a store in the 1100 block of South Sanderson Avenue at 10:13 am., police said.
The victim provided a description of the suspect and told the police dispatcher the man had left his identification at the scene.
Police located the man— identified as 28-year-old David Hayes of Hemet, who was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon— a short time later in the 2300 block of West Stetson Avenue and tried to detain him, but he fled.
As a second police officer arrived to help out, Hayes tried to get away by jumping over fences in a residential neighborhood.
"Both officers chased the suspect into the neighborhood, leaving their patrol units unattended," Hemet Police Lt. Eric Dickson said.
The officers then lost sight of Hayes and began to coordinate a perimeter with incoming police cars. Meanwhile, the suspect apparently thought he could get away in one of the unattended cars.
"As additional police units were responding, dispatch received a call from a citizen who saw the suspect get into one of the officers’ vehicle and drive away..." Dickson said.
The police car was then tracked by GPS gong south on State Street, and west on Domenigoni Parkway, and other police agencies were called in to help stop the man.
The suspect went north on Interstate 215 and lost control when he got off the freeway at Bradley Street.
"The vehicle struck a curb which caused it to become disabled," Dickson said. "The suspect fled from the unit on foot and was taken into custody a short distance away by CHP and Hemet Police officers after a brief physical confrontation."
Hayes now faces charges of theft of an emergency vehicle, burglary, resisting arrest, and committing a parole violation. He was held without bail.
—City News Service contributed to this report.