Home NEWS Local Scene Moraga Man Fights To Keep His Truck Sunday; Freeway Melee Ensues

Moraga Man Fights To Keep His Truck Sunday; Freeway Melee Ensues

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A bold attempt to steal a truck from a Moraga household in broad daylight Sunday ended badly for at least one of the would-be thieves after his companion mistakenly ran him over during a freeway fistfight with the persistent, pursuing homeowner.

The resident, whose name we’ve agreed to withhold in the interest of his family’s safety, said he saw the thieves roll by his home on the Orinda/Moraga border in a white Ford Ranger at around 5:20 p.m., and that he sprang into action when he heard the distinctive sound of his own truck engine turning over.

“I knew what was happening but it was hard to believe it was happening on a Sunday, and in daylight,” he said. “At that point I was thinking: ‘do I pursue in the XXX (expensive car) or the Mercedes?’ I settled on the Mercedes and yelled to my wife to call 9-1-1.”

The Moraga man said he popped out onto Rheem Boulevard to head off the thieves, spotting the man now driving his truck and his wingman in the Ford Ranger, setting off after the pair and at one point pulling alongside his truck, the two men yelling at one another and the pursuing homeowner honking at the thief in a vain attempt to get him to pull over.

“That’s when he decided to ram me… in my truck. He hit me pretty good and then he t-ed me right up and he’s pushing me down the street like that, with me out in front of him. He hit another car, a Tesla, but my truck is hurting and the left front tire blows…”

The resident, who admits to some past experience in law enforcement, said his battered Mercedes eventually disengaged from his stolen truck’s front bumper. He looked up to see the Ford and his truck disappearing down Rheem Boulevard toward Glorietta. To his surprise, the Mercedes was still running.

“I thought ‘I’m still in the game’ so I went down to Glorietta, thinking maybe they were heading west to Oakland and looking that way but then I looked right and I saw the back end of the Ranger make the turn by the old Lesher estate so I went right…”

The Moraga man said the thief in the Ranger was trying to screen the limping pickup they had just stolen but that his vehicle was in obvious trouble and by that time rolling on its front rim, the driver unable to make the turn onto the freeway.

“I catch up and tackle the guy in my truck and we’re swinging away and I’m trying to keep an eye on the one in the Ranger, who pulls up and I’m watching to see what he’s going to do when he pulls forward, then backs up and comes at me,” the Moraga man said. “I jumped out of the way but he rolled right over his friend, and the guy disappears under the truck. I’ve never seen that before.”

With his primary foe down and out of the fight the would-be victim said he engaged the second driver in the Ranger, who for some reason elected to inform him “I have a warrant,” while the homeowner tried to get the thief’s car keys and immobilize his truck.

“But then it occurred to me his truck was probably stolen, too, and that there were no keys. He got out with a pair of bolt cutters in his hands… and that’s when Moraga PD and then Orinda showed up.”

The local man said the first officers concentrated on the thief who was down and the one in the Ford Ranger drove off, west on Highway 24. Despite the crash and roadside fisticuffs he said he was unhurt, while the man he’d wrestled with was transferred to John Muir Medical Center for treatment. His condition was not available.

The second alleged thief was believed to have made a clean getaway. The would-be victim said the best acknowledgement came when he limped home in his battered Mercedes, his disabled truck towed away by police.

“My wife looked at me and said ‘good job,'” he said.

But any sense of satisfaction he may have felt was short-lived.

“We’re moving out of state in a couple of months,” he said. “We were going to use my truck for the move.”

54 COMMENTS

  1. Saw the Moraga car following the ambulance — I guess to the hospital — after this happened. That’s a lot of excitement for Lamorinda to handle!!!

  2. Wow!
    This is getting scary folks!
    When are our big hearts (and sometimes small brains) going to realize that some people belong in jail!
    Letting these criminals loose, or never sending to jail in the first place despite their repeated crimes is not working out for us good citizens.
    I now see through the supposed social justice /criminal justice movement.

  3. Excellent work by the ex-law enforcement Moraga resident. I’d like to buy you lunch before you move out of state with the rest of my ex-LEO friends, is it going to be Texas or Idaho? Only thing different I would have done is to shoot the driver of the truck that rammed me, it was assault with a deadly weapon.

    24/680,

    Told you this was bound to happen.

    108RS

    • We don’t think we’re violating the terms of our privacy agreement with this homeowner by saying that he’s not designated either of the states you mention for his new homestead. He can fill you in on specifics if you guys hook up for lunch.

      And hate to steal your thunder (pun absolutely intended) but we’ve been predicting just this sort of reaction for waaaaay before you started gracing our pages! And while we are glad this ended with the right person in the hospital and jail and the local man safe but out a significant amount of money for automotive repairs we’re super glad no lead was flying around Sunday…

      Have a good lunch!

  4. Glad that at least one of the perpetrators was apprehended. A clear display of fortitude by the Moragan to thwart this criminal act. Now the important question for 24/680, instead of the Freeway Melee headline, was the term Donnybrook ever considered? Perhaps spatial considerations were in play.

    • Jeff –
      We went with the French (by way of England) root word because it was short and because we liked the mildly alliterative rub it got from “Moraga…”

      As for Donnybrook, it’s a fave of ours and will undoubtedly see use sometime in the near future!

      News24/680

    • Kate –

      Our handy neighbor is still with us and following – we don’t like to answer up for him but we’ll say his family’s designated destination is not among your list!

      • I notice that Texas and Idaho are not on the above list and still under consideration for the move. Note to Moraga resident: I used to work for the current Sheriff of Kootenai County in Idaho, good guy. 108RS

  5. “I jumped out of the way but he rolled right over his friend, and the guy disappears under the truck. I’ve never seen that before.”

    Beautiful.

  6. My husband was hit by a Mercedes and white truck in the same area at the same time. We are piecing it together.

  7. This article makes me extremely uncomfortable, in that it appears to glorify what the Moraga resident did. His actions created an extremely dangerous situation. Even completely discounting the wellbeing of the thieves, instead of the theft of one car, which was likely insured, we now have 3 heavily damaged vehicles. The resident apparently pulled up alongside the thieves on Rheem Blvd–this road is one lane in each direction with a double yellow line, so the Moraga resident was clearly violating traffic laws and endangering the lives of any innocent users of the road, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, who would be particularly vulnerable.

    Lives are more important than cars, and the resident’s actions escalated a nonviolent theft into a violent encounter that endangered other members of the community. And if you’re worried about cars so much, explain to the owner of the “Tesla” why pursuing the thieves was worth it. Real life isn’t an action movie, and protecting the community doesn’t just mean catching thieves–it also means know when such a pursuit isn’t worth the risks to others.

    • Dan,

      Cars are often stolen to commit other crimes, often violent crimes. Yes, pursuits can be dangerous to innocent bystanders, fortunately none were hurt in this case. I would not recommend that just any citizen attempts the actions of the homeowner on Sunday. The article does suggest that he has a law enforcement background and likely trained to evaluate the situation as it progressed. I would have done exactly the same thing, except for shooting the suspect after ramming my car. How would you have felt if these suspects later used the stolen truck in a murder? 108RS

      • My husband and son could have been killed. No cars or anything non human could be worth their lives, even for a hypothetical murder — instead we almost had at least 2 homicides— my son and partner.

        • Key words are “could have” “almost” and they weren’t. So your whole statement is hypothetical. Cops said the car was a Tesla, so I guess they got it wrong.

          • Actually, the homeowner thought they’d struck a Tesla – but we think he can be excused for the misidentification since he was a little busy at the time.

        • So who’s actions are to blame? The homeowner or the thief who decided to start a demolition derby? You could say the homeowner didn’t have to go after them? But I would respond with the thief didn’t have to steal his car. The suspect didn’t have to start ramming cars. The homeowner didn’t make the choice to Ram cars, the suspect did. The suspect put everyone in danger. Bet that suspect will never return to Moraga.

          • My understanding is that if someone is killed or injured during the commission of a crime the perpetrator (in this case the car thieves) is legally responsible but I’m not a lawyer.

    • The perps are coming into your soft, affluent, suburban underbellies. They are counting on your passivity, naivety and lack of street smarts. And yes, they sometimes cross the center line too Dan. Kudos to the man for deciding NOT to be a victim or victimized. Yes, some good old fashioned street justice. Window peaking looky loos need not apply.

    • And that right there is what is wrong with California these days. You literally placed all blame on the victim. His actions did this and his actions were that. How about the actions of the guy who stole the truck? Who decided to use the stolen truck as a battering ram vs pulling over and running off. The homeowner committed one Infraction when the thief did the rest. The driver of the Mercedes pulled along side of the stolen truck and the thief did all the rest yet you seem to want to put the blame on the home owner. Unreal

    • So the actions of the thief didn’t actually cause any of it? It was the home owners fault for committing an Infraction which caused the thief to commit several felonies? It wasn’t the action of the thief stealing the car which triggered a chain reaction. So the home owner commits one Infraction and it excuses the multiple felonies and the thief’s decision to start ramming vehicles? The thief couldn’t have just given up? Or is that the way you see the world? Poor thief and savage home owner?

      • Well put!!!! I supposed Adam believes the home owner should be prosecuted?? We need more people like that homeowner instead of Monday morning quarterbacks who don’t believe in accountability.

    • I’m uncomfortable that criminals come here to take things from us and even rob us.
      I’m uncomfortable that they’re comfortable doing this – in broad daylight.
      I’m uncomfortable that some people would question our right to protect ourselves and our property.
      I’m uncomfortable that once again we would not have found out about a significant incident within our neighborhood were it not for this publication.
      I’m uncomfortable wondering about what else is out there that we know nothing about.

    • Lives are more important than cars. I wouldn’t recommend any citizen do this, law enforcement or not. If the guy had a gun, it doesn’t matter what your backround is.

      • Keith,

        I am better trained than any law enforcement officer in Northern California, while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I will not be taking yours. 108RS

  8. Dan, be thankful you only feel “uncomfortable.” This truck owner decided he did not want to be a victim nor victimized. I, and I’m sure there are a lot of others here who have had it with these perps. Enough with these smash and grabbers, armed robberies, car break ins and theft from Safeway and Walgreens. The criminals are moving into our suburban, affluent underbelly looking for the good stuff.

    They are counting on your passivity, naivety and lack of street smarts to take what they want. The D.A., the Courts and the Police are ham struck by the restorative justice B.S. It’s time for some Paul Kersey street justice to protect and preserve the quit enjoyment of our communities. Looky loo window peakers need not apply.

  9. Hold on a second, I’m still trying to picture Bolt Cutter Boy getting out of his truck and blurting “I have a warrant!” That gets me every time.

  10. And, once again, we see that the police were completely useless, allowing the other guy to get away. If you want something done, you have to do it yourself, like the truck owner did.

  11. I know a story of a suspect who pulled a gun on a cop and pulled the trigger in the cops face. The gun didn’t go off because the dumb criminal didn’t load the bullets in the gun correctly. That same suspect was arrested 3 months before for possession of a loaded concealed firearm. That’s California.

  12. I know a story of a former cop who murdered two innocent people and only served 5 years in prison. He enjoyed tremendous support from his former fellow police officers and firefighters during his trial. That’s CA for you.

    • Hey, Bob… yes. Fairly similar. We’ll be posting more soon as we get more info and when Moraga-Orinda decides whether they want to hear about this stuff or not…

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