San Jacinto

Probationer Accused of Stealing Pickup, Starting Chase in San Jacinto

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A 24-year-old probationer who allegedly stole a pickup in San Jacinto and led sheriff's deputies on a 7-mile chase that ended in a crash was being held Thursday on $100,000 bail.

Wyatt Richard Garofalo was arrested and booked Wednesday into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of auto theft, assault on a peace officer, felony evading and probation violations.

Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, deputies were alerted to a vehicle theft near the intersection of Camino Los Banos and East Main Street, where the owner of a Ford F350 told patrolmen his pickup had just been taken, according to Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Julio Olguin.

Deputies fanned out and spotted the alleged stolen truck approaching Seventh Street on Camino Los Banos, prompting them to signal the driver — later identified as Garofalo -- to stop, Olguin said.

He alleged that Garofalo refused, instead accelerating eastbound to the Ramona Expressway, where he turned south.

"The pursuit covered several roadways located in the east area of
San Jacinto and (unincorporated) Hemet," the sergeant said. "The vehicle ultimately drove into the front of a security gate in the 44000 block of Orpington Avenue," east of Hemet.

Garofalo allegedly bailed out of the pickup and ran behind a storage facility, climbing a tree in an attempt to hide, according to Olguin.


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Deputies ordered him to surrender, and he complied, the sheriff's spokesman said.

No one was injured during the pursuit.

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