Crime - Sacto 911

Robbery suspect on the loose after wild chase ends in Natomas

A surveillance photo shows suspects in the robbery of a Grass Valley smoke shop. Suspects in the robbery were arrested following a pursuit that ended in Sacramento’s Natomas area.
A surveillance photo shows suspects in the robbery of a Grass Valley smoke shop. Suspects in the robbery were arrested following a pursuit that ended in Sacramento’s Natomas area. Grass Valley Police Department

One of three robbery suspects who fled on foot after leading police on a 75-mile chase from Grass Valley to Natomas remained at large Tuesday evening.

Two Hayward men identified as suspects in the robbery were taken into custody following a chase on several highways through multiple counties. The chase ended at Truxel and San Juan roads in Sacramento’s South Natomas area, where the suspects’ vehicle got stuck.

Officer Chad Hertzell, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol’s North Sacramento office, said the pursuit of three people in a white commercial box truck began in the Grass Valley area and traversed Highways 20, 70 and 99 and Interstate 5.

Officer Greg Tassone, spokesman for the CHP’s Grass Valley office, said the chase began about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday when the Grass Valley Police Department reported officers were trying to stop three suspects in a robbery that had occurred there on Monday. The CHP took over the pursuit after the truck left the city limits.

Tassone said the truck left Grass Valley on Highway 20, and traveled through Penn Valley toward Marysville. It traveled in and out of Marysville and Yuba City before heading south toward Sacramento. The truck traveled on and off freeways, sometimes heading in the wrong direction and passing traffic on the shoulder.

The CHP deployed spike strips, but the truck was able to avoid them, Tassone said. CHP air units followed the truck, allowing CHP vehicles to pull back in the interest of safety and to avoid collisions with other vehicles, he said.

When the truck reached Sacramento, it exited I-5 at Arena Boulevard, then headed south on Truxel Road. The vehicle chase ended at 1:30 p.m., when the truck became high-centered on a median at Truxel and San Juan roads, and the occupants ran off in different directions. Hertzell said one suspect was located at a FoodMaxx store and another at an apartment complex.

The Grass Valley Police Department identified the two men in custody as Joseph Daniel Sandoval, 31, and James Edwin Sandoval III, 32, both of Hayward.

They were sought in connection with a robbery that occurred about 12:45 p.m. Monday, when two masked individuals entered the Hot Spot Smoke Shop on Colfax Avenue armed with handguns. They demanded money and were given an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, according to a Police Department news release. They also stole electronic items from the store before leaving in a van that had been stolen from a glass company.

As officers responded to the robbery, they found the abandoned van a few blocks from the smoke shop. Detectives were able to locate video surveillance of the two suspects from a nearby business that the suspects had entered earlier that day, police said. Clear images of the two people sought in the robbery and a third individual were obtained and circulated to area law enforcement officers.

Tuesday morning, Grass Valley police received a report that a white box truck had been stolen from a graphics company on Springhill Drive. Just after noon, a detective spotted the robbery suspects leaving a gas station on McKnight Way in the stolen box truck. Grass Valley officers attempted to stop the truck, but the driver fled westbound on Highway 20.

Police said the two men arrested following the chase will be booked into jail in Nevada County. The third person remained at large early Tuesday evening.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy

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