One of three suspects accused in a shoplifting incident in Danville earlier Wednesday is now in custody, facing additional charges of kidnapping and carjacking, after allegedly forcing his way into two people's cars while fleeing the scene of the original crime.
Just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Danville police responded to reports of shoplifting at Ace Hardware on Camino Tassajara near Blackhawk, followed by reports of suspicious circumstances at a McDonald's parking lot across the street, and at Crow Commons Shopping Center, where a suspect was taken into custody before 3:20 p.m.
In his weekly "10-8" podcast on Wednesday night, Danville Police Chief Allan Shields said that a witness saw three people steal power tools from the Ace Hardware -- one of whom carjacked a driver at knifepoint at the McDonald's parking lot across the street. The two other suspects fled the scene in a red Toyota Camry.
Because the suspect kept the driver in the car and demanded a ride, Shields said, this made the situation a kidnapping case in addition to carjacking.
The victim proceeded to drive the suspect to San Ramon, where the suspect allegedly carjacked another vehicle and headed back north towards Danville. San Ramon police, who had been alerted to the incident, saw the second carjacking while monitoring the parking lot it occurred in, leading to the suspect's arrest and booking in the county jail, according to Shields.
"There were detectives, knowing that crime was happening, they were monitoring the parking lot and actually saw the carjacking take place, and were able to stop the suspect in that case and free the victim," Shields said.
Shields said that taking the suspect into custody had gone smoothly, and that the carjacking and kidnapping victims had come out of the incident without injuries, although one witness sustained a minor injury while trying to intervene in the shoplifting incident.
"There was someone that, while he was wrestling with the person at the store, trying to keep him from stealing, had a minor injury, but beyond that no one was hurt," Shields said.
In addition to SRPD, Shields said that assorted calls from witnesses and the work of dispatchers had been key to tracking down the suspect.
"There were all of these different calls, and each one might not have provided a clear picture as to what happened. But our dispatch center, because they've got a lot of dispatchers up there, they were able to field all these 911 calls that were coming in, put that information out to our officers that were responding, so we had a very clear picture," the police chief said.
Shields declined to provide the suspect's identity, citing an ongoing investigation into the case by the Danville Police Department. Police were still looking for the other two suspects in the shoplifting incident, as of Wednesday evening.