A carload of youthful shoplifters made off with a few items from the Orinda Safeway store Saturday – but it was what officers found in their car when it was stopped a few minutes later that took police by surprise.
Four youths were allegedly observed taking items by store staff around 1 p.m., concealing the items and making their way out of the store with them – according to police.
Police Chief Mark Nagel said his officers caught up with the vehicle as it was leaving the area on westbound Highway 24 and quickly determined that everyone aboard was underage and no one had a valid driver’s license.
Almost $500 worth of Safeway items allegedly pilfered from Orinda and Antioch were found in the car, Nagel said. But it was while officers were searching a backpack belonging to one of the four that a loaded, stolen pistol was found.
The 17-year-old Oakland youth associated with the pistol was taken to Juvenile Hall, Nagel said. A second teen was identified as a runaway from a facility in another county and she was returned to that jurisdiction. The three girls in the car ranged in age from 14 to 16-years, according to police.
Two were released to their families. The car they were in was towed.