Maybe he just really needed a beer.
Zachary Samaha, 22, allegedly stole a Sacramento Police Department squad car Saturday evening. Chris Marzan, a bystander who apprehended him, said the barefoot Samaha drove the car to A-1 Market Liquor off of Florin Road and was heading out of the store with a 40-ounce bottle of beer he had already opened.
Marzan ordered Samaha to the ground and summoned officers, who soon arrived to take the young man to jail. Marzan said in an interview with The Bee on Sunday morning that he’s “kind of a magnet” for mayhem and has performed four or five other citizen’s arrests for domestic violence, driving under the influence and credit card theft.
“I don’t suggest anyone doing anything like this because if you don’t have the proper training or understanding of safety,” you could get hurt, he said. Marzan completed a public safety class in the ’90s and has worked in security over the years.
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Samaha allegedly took the vehicle after it was left unattended by officers who were responding to a call in the area of Stockton Boulevard and Riza Avenue near Florin around 7:17 p.m. A short time later, motorist Marzan spotted the patrol car swerving as it drove south down Stockton Boulevard with its lights off.
He flashed his lights at the car, which then pulled a u-turn and fishtailed in the street before hitting a telephone pole next to a car dealership parking lot. Marzan described the incident to the Public Safety News Network, which published a video to Facebook.
Marzan said he pulled a u-turn himself and called 911 to report the crash. As he drove by the parking lot, he said, Samaha got out of the car, wearing sweats and obviously not in a uniform.
“I’m on the phone with dispatch, I said, ‘Look, you’ve got a guy who just stole a patrol car,’ ” he told the network, a video and social media-based breaking news site. Marzan had dashboard camera footage of the encounter, which shows the police car pulling jerkily out of a car dealership parking lot after the crash.
Marzan pulled another u-turn at Lindale and watched the patrol car pull out of the parking lot heading south on the northbound side of the street. Marzan said he followed the patrol car as it turned on to Lindale. Samaha made another stop in front of an apartment building before getting back in the car and pulling into the parking lot of A-1 Market Liquor.
“I was concerned that he was going to come out with one of the weapons in the vehicle,” Marzan said in the interview.
The video shows Samaha getting out of the vehicle and jogging into the store barefoot while Marzan parks behind him. Marzan said he followed the suspect into the store watched him grab a “40,” or a 40-ounce container of malt liquor beer, from the fridge and pop the screw top off.
Armed with his flashlight, Marzan said he told Samaha to get on the ground.
“I gave him verbal commands,” Marzan said. “He got down and he complied from there and that’s when I cuffed him and brought him out.”
The video shows Marzan walking Samaha out of the shop, his arms bound behind him. He gets calmly down on the ground and Marzan holds him in place until a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy arrives to arrest him.
Marzan keeps a safety kit in his car with the flashlight and handcuffs he used to apprehend Samaha, left over from his days in security.
“I’m relieved that no one was hurt and I’m relieved that he’s off the streets and I hope that he gets the help he needs,” he said. “I made the decision to go in because I didn’t want him to, one, get back in the patrol car or, two, go out the back door of the store.”
Marzan is an administrative and bookkeeper assistant at Asian Resources Inc. Samaha does not appear to have any prior charges in the Sacramento County court system. A Facebook page registered in his name says he lives in Rocklin. He has published numerous music videos to YouTube under the name Zach Attack.
The Sheriff’s Department handed the suspect off to the Police Department in the 6600 block of Sunnyslope Drive, which is in their jurisdiction, said Sacramento police spokesman Sgt. Vance Chandler.
Chandler could not confirm many parts of Marzan’s account, citing an ongoing investigation that includes how Samaha got in the car and drove off with it. Samaha was booked for vehicle theft and driving under the influence.