Readers were right – again – yesterday – as an attempt to stop an individual suspected of rummaging through a car in a parking garage at 1390 N. Broadway turned into a car chase, foot pursuit, chair-tossing and rugby scrum tackle of the suspect outside the Lafayette Whole Foods store.
Witnesses said the incident kicked off about 5 p.m., with Walnut Creek police falling in behind the suspected car burglar – dubbed “Bears” by at least one local police chief who launched a “Don’t Feed the Bears” campaign after an uptick in car burglaries, after they spotted the man driving a stolen vehicle south on N. Broadway.
In a virtual replay of events from earlier in the day, a police attempt to stop the car proved unsuccessful, and officers pursued the car west on Highway 24 and into Lafayette, where the suspect jumped from his car in full view of stunned witnesses outside Whole Foods and attempted to flee on foot.
As police closed in, police said the suspect, later identified as 30-year-old Teluluai Lesiu of San Jose, threw a chair at the pursuing officers, striking one in the leg.
“That’s when everyone sort of jumped in,” said Martina Leigh, shopping in the store at the time. “It looked like one giant dogfight.”
Apparently several officers and at least one civilian joined in the takedown. The injured officer was treated for a cut to his leg and later released. Lesiu, a convicted felon, was transported to Martinez Detention Facility (MDF) and booked on seven felonies and two misdemeanors.