Lamorinda police descended on the area around the BART and Whole Foods parking lots on Deer Hill Road after a pursuit of a stolen car from Moraga through downtown Lafayette Friday morning – the second chase of its kind in Lamorinda in as many days.
Police sources confirmed the man behind the wheel during Friday’s chase – 25-year-old Samuel Bailey of Martinez – is in custody. The car he was driving, a red Chevy Suburban, had been stolen from a Lafayette resident earlier in the morning and Bailey was allegedly in possession of a stolen, small-caliber pistol taking during an even earlier auto theft in Dublin, according to police.
This morning’s chase, triggered when the stolen Suburban came to the attention of a cruising Moraga police officer on Moraga Road at 10:40 a.m., is the second to shake normally sedate Lamorinda in the past 24 hours. Last night, Thursday, a man attempting to elude Concord police in a stolen, customized 1985 Chevy truck led police on a chase into Canyon where he abandoned the truck and fled into the surrounding area on foot.
Police were not able to find that suspect despite an intensive search.
Moraga Police Lt. Jon King said an officer spotted the Surburban driving recklessly on Moraga Road and Donald Drive and moved to intercept, Bailey taking off down Moraga Road in the direction of Lafayette.
“He made a right turn at Mt. Diablo, jumped the center median and entered the Whole Foods lot,” King said. “He appeared to be backing out of the lot in an attempt to gain the freeway in the wrong direction and our officers backed off (out of concern for public safety.)”
Lafayette police were also in the area, King said, and a motorcycle officer cut off Bailey’s escape, the Suburban crashing through a chain link fence, into a freeway sign and, unfortunately, a car belonging to a Whole Foods employee, according to King.
Bailey allegedly jumped from the smoking Suburban and ran a short distance before he was taken into custody by a motorcycle officer from Lafayette PD in front of dozens of passing commuters.
Bailey, who is on probation for an unknown earlier offense, was arrested today for auto theft, possession of stolen property, having a loaded gun in car, evading police, and probation violation.
The car police said he used to travel to Lamorinda had been stolen from a hotel parking lot in Dublin – the .22 caliber pistol inside.
“So he kept the pistol and dumped the car and picked up another one in Lafayette,” King said. “In fact, Lafayette police had found that car and were processing it when our chase started in Moraga.”