Police Pop Porterville Hooligans in Car Theft

Written by Estero Bay News

January 17, 2022

Local police arrested two suspected gang members from the Central Valley who allegedly stole a car and took several friends on a joy ride to Morro Bay where they were spotted by police, chased to Atascadero and crashed the car before attempting to flee the scene.

According to Morro Bay Police Cmdr. Amy Watkins, at 9:17 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 26 dispatch notified the department of a report that a car stolen in Porterville was possibly in Morro Bay. Porterville is near the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Tulare County.

MBPD officers began to search for the vehicle and an officer spotted it at about 9:48 a.m. heading north in the 1300 block of Main St., according to Cmdr. Watkins. The driver pulled what could be described as a suspicious maneuver.

“The vehicle pulled through the Chevron Station at Main and Highway 41,” she said, “and proceeded back onto Atascadero Road.”

That bonehead shortcut led the officer to pull the car over, which didn’t work. “The vehicle failed to yield to officers,” Cmdr. Watkins said. “The vehicle traveled east bound on Highway 41 pursued by Morro Bay Police Department.”

Radioing ahead, officers got help from a County Sheriff’s deputy. “As the vehicle entered Atascadero,” Cmdr. Watkins said, “a San Luis Obispo County [Sheriff’s] Deputy attempted to deploy spike strips at San Gabriel Road. Suspect vehicle avoided the spike strips, however, lost control while attempting to make a left turn onto San Gabriel Road. The vehicle collided with a telephone pole, disabling the vehicle.” No one was hurt in the crash.

Two suspects jumped out of the car and took off running but were caught a short time later by officers, which included MBPD, County Sheriff and Atascadero Police. Three other subjects stayed in the wrecked car, which was recovered, albeit damaged significantly.

The two hooligans that fled the crash were arrested. The driver, identified as a 16-year-old boy from Porterville was charged with suspicion of grand theft auto, possession of stolen property, resisting arrest, felony reckless evading, and a Tulare County warrant, according to Cmdr. Watkins.

The other teen, a 15-year-old from Porterville, who was reported as “missing” out of San Jose, was charged with suspicion of resisting arrest. He also had a no-bail warrant out of Tulare County. Both were booked into the Juvenile Services Center, and, “Both suspects are documented gang members from Tulare County, Porterville area,” Cmdr. Watkins said. “No injuries or additional collisions were reported as a result of the pursuit and apprehension.”

Cmdr. Watkins said the other three people in the car, all juveniles as well, were taken into custody but not arrested.

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