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U-Haul pursuit prompts jokes, ends peacefully with 'pit' maneuver

April 25, 2013|By Kate Mather

The latest trend in Southern California police pursuits, it seems, is using a U-Haul.

For the second time in a week, chase-captivated residents flipped on their televisions Wednesday night to watch authorities in hot pursuit of a stolen U-Haul truck. This time, police were after a shirtless man they say took off from Riverside.

An officer responding to an alarm at a U-Haul facility on Spruce Street Wednesday night arrived to find a man driving off in the truck, Riverside police Lt. Val Graham said. So began the chase, which moved into Orange County as the suspect sped across the 91 Freeway.

He wound across the 55 and 5 freeways, at some points moving onto surface streets and fishtailing on the damp roadways.

California Highway Patrol joined the pursuit, and authorities appeared to use a "pit" maneuver -- a popular car chase-ending technique -- to stop the U-Haul in Anaheim. He was then taken into custody.

The suspect's name and age weren't immediately available, but Graham said he was booked on several charges, including felony vehicle theft. He also faced charges for damage at the business in Riverside -- Graham said he smashed a window and crashed into some of the other U-Haul trucks parked in the lot on his way out.

Authorities don't believe he has any connection to the business, Graham said.

And though California Highway Patrol jokingly cautioned about opening the truck in a tweet Wednesday night -- "Please be careful when opening the roll-up door as items may have shifted during pursuit," the agency's Southern Division tweeted -- Graham said it was his understanding that the vehicles at the facility were typically empty.

All in all, it was "an interesting night in the city of Riverside," Graham said.

Last week, a man was arrested after driving a stolen -- but empty -- U-Haul through the San Fernando Valley, KTLA reported. That suspect eventually bailed out of the moving truck and ran into a Pacoima condo complex, where officers chased him down and took him into custody.

"What is it about @uhaul trucks?!" CHP tweeted Wednesday.

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Twitter: @katemather | Google+
kate.mather@latimes.com

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