A wild pursuit in Perris came to an unusual ending Thursday after the suspects drove into an underground flood channel, ditched the truck and escaped in the tunnels before finally being caught hours later.
Aaron Munoz, the owner of the stolen 1999 Ford F-250, said he hasn’t seen the truck since it was stolen from his apartment complex about a week ago.
"You tried to work hard and someone takes your property and it's just ridiculous,” he said.
Video from Southern California's police pursuits and follow-ups on what happened after the chase
At 6 feet 7 inches tall, Munoz is a big man. But as he looked at the damage to the truck he worked hard to pay for, he couldn’t help but get emotional.
"Someone that lives a life of crime and what not, just feeds off the people that work hard it's ridiculous," he said.
Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies spotted the truck on North Perris Boulevard just after 10 p.m. while investigating a reported theft at a business. They said three people were inside as they chased it through a neighborhood along Redlands Avenue.
At some point during the pursuit, a woman passenger got out of the truck, but it continued.
The truck somehow ended up dropping into the flood channel, with deputies following it from a dirt road.
"It just went down right there scraping the floor," said a man who asked to be identified as Jose, who saw the odd pursuit.
The pursuit came to an end about 40 feet inside a tunnel, where two suspects took off on foot underground.
Yelling into storm drains, deputies armed with assault rifles tried to persuade the suspects to come out, but after three hours of searching in the underground channels, the full-scale search came to an end.
At 3:50 p.m., Sean Hughes, 24, and Jesus Jimenez, 23, both of Perris, were arrested after they were seen trying to leave the flood control channel.
Later, a deputy brought the F-250 out of the tunnel. It was scratched up, but still running.
Munoz is grateful to get it back, and will be even more grateful for justice.
"I hope they get what they deserve. I hope they do their jail time,” he said. “I hope they get what's coming to them, that's all."