Stolen Car Chase Ends in Hills With Possibly Another Stolen Car

By Richard Brenneman
Friday July 21, 2006

A Richmond police pursuit ended near the Claremont Hotel Tuesday night but not before a helicopter search and prowling patrol cars alarmed nearby residents. 

Berkeley police spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said Berkeley officers were alerted at 6:35 p.m. by the Richmond department, who said their cars were chasing a suspected stolen car into the city. 

The driver was reported armed with a semi-automatic pistol. 

Berkeley cars joined in, but the officers lost sight of the car—a 2006 Chrysler 300—near the intersection of Claremont and Ashby avenues. 

It was Berkeley officers who finally spotted the car, parked in front of a home in the 2800 block of Elmwood Avenue. 

The pilot of a California Highway Patrol helicopter who regularly monitors the Berkeley, Richmond and Oakland police bands joined in the pursuit. 

The suspect managed to evade the search, but he did leave behind a dozen power tools in the trunk of the stolen car, Sgt. Kusmiss said. 

Though readers told the Daily Planet that the bandit had stolen another car, the officer said she was unable to confirm that account. 

But a resident of nearby Pine Street said her 1993 Saab was the likely getaway car. 

The woman, who spoke on condition that her name not be used, was first alerted to unusual goings-on by the sirens and the sound of the helicopter. 

“I noticed a policeman on the corner and asked my son to find out what was going on,” she said. 

Leaving the door ajar, the young man went to check—and the woman believes it was then that the theft went down. 

“The keys were on a table by the door and you could see them through the window,” she said. 

The theft itself was finally discovered about 9:15 p.m. 

“I hope I get it back,” she said. “I don’t think it’s the kind of car he’ll want to ride around in.”