Man steals sheriff’s cruiser; chase moves through Carmel Valley

By City News Service

A 30-year-old man is behind bars after stealing a sheriff’s cruiser Oct. 2 and leading law enforcement personnel on a 38-minute pursuit from Poway to Carmel Valley, authorities said.

Sean Michael Webber stole the white cruiser from Midland and Twin Peaks roads about 9:45 a.m. Oct. 2, said San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Vengler.

The vehicle is used by the department’s senior volunteer patrol, which was in the area assisting with traffic control for Poway’s annual “Tour de Poway” cycling event. Two members of the volunteer patrol were standing near the cruiser when Webber stole it, Vengler said.

A sheriff’s deputy spotted the vehicle minutes later and a pursuit ensued, according to Vengler, who said Webber led deputies out of Poway toward the coast.

San Diego police assisted with the pursuit until authorities decided to back off and let a sheriff’s helicopter crew follow the stolen cruiser. The California Highway Patrol also assisted by closing intersections for the pursuit.

Webber eventually drove to the end of a cul-de-sac in the Carmel Valley area, stopping briefly before barreling through a fence to get to another street, Vengler said.

He then drove backward slowly toward sheriff’s, San Diego police and CHP vehicles that had converged on the area, but then bounded out of the still-moving cruiser and surrendered, Vengler said.

The vehicle came to a stop on its own and the only property damage was to the fence Webber crashed through and the cruiser, Vengler said, noting no one was injured in the 23-mile, 38-minute pursuit

Webber was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of felony evading, felony theft of an on-call emergency vehicle, misdemeanor drunken driving and misdemeanor driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

Bail was set at $50,000.