Crime - Sacto 911

Suspects in Elk Grove water-heater thefts arrested after series of police pursuits

Two men were arrested and other escaped after allegedly trying to steal hot water heaters from a home supply store and then fleeing from Elk Grove police.

Store shoplift-prevention employees at about 10 a.m. Tuesday tried to stop three men from taking hot water heaters from the Home Depot at 9150 West Stockton Blvd.

The men placed two water heaters onto a dolly and left the store without paying for the merchandise, according to an Elk Grove police press release. One man, David Mendoza, 52, of Mendota, Fresno County, escaped on foot and was taken into custody across the street from the store.

The other two men fled in a pickup towing a trailer, without the hot water heaters. Officers saw the pickup and tried to stop it, but the driver failed to pull over and a pursuit began on Highway 99.

The chase ended due to heavy traffic. The trailer was found at Cosumnes Oaks High School.

Another pursuit began on southbound Highway 99 when the pickup was spotted again. Elk Grove police called off their second pursuit, again due to traffic conditions. A Sacramento Police Department helicopter crew followed the pickup, and eventually it stopped in Galt, where a passenger exited.

The driver, Eddie Malagon, 57, of Fowler, Fresno County, was arrested in Stockton. Malagon and Mendoza were arrested on suspicion of taking the water heaters. Malagon was also booked on suspicion of evading police.

The third man escaped. The hot water heaters and other stolen property were recovered.

Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.