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Car thieves lead police on high-speed chase

Two Las Vegas men caught after crash

Staff Writer

BARSTOW• Two Las Vegas men are in custody after they allegedly stole a man’s car from the Valero gas station where he worked and led Barstow Police on a high-speed pursuit through the Barstow Heights area Sunday, according to police officials.

At approximately 4:12 p.m., officers responded to the gas station at 1401 E. Main Street after an employee reported his Honda Accord stolen from the parking lot. The victim told officers that several co-workers first advised him that his car was missing.

The victim observed his stolen vehicle traveling on Main Street and alerted Barstow Police while officers were en route to the Valero. Officer Michael Cardenas located the stolen vehicle headed east on Main Street and watched the vehicle enter the Interstate 15 southbound ramp.

Officers attempted to stop the vehicle on the I-15, just south of Barstow Road, when the driver yielded momentarily before fleeing at a high rate of speed, police said.

Police followed the vehicle as it exited on L Street and the driver again pretended to yield, only to pick up speed once more — upward of 75 miles per hour, according to police officials. The vehicle then turned east onto Cochise Road, failing to stop for posted stop signs and blind intersections.

After turning south onto H Street and speeding past several vehicles on the wrong side of the roadway, the vehicle fled through the intersection at H Street and Rimrock Road and continued south on H Street.

The driver turned west onto Linda Vista Road, losing control of the vehicle just west of I Street and crashing into a dirt berm. The driver fled on foot northbound through the open desert with officers giving chase.

The driver, identified as Chane Lee Anderson, unknowingly ran toward a citizen who was in his yard at the time and who assisted the pursuing officers in capturing the driver.

The passenger, identified as Andrew Michael Tapps, attempted to flee also, but was captured at the scene.

Police investigation concluded that either or both men “punched” the ignition to steal the victim’s car, Barstow Police Lieutenant Mike Hunter confirmed.

A skilled thief can usually “punch” an ignition — a process by which one punches the ignition mechanism out and uses a screwdriver to start the vehicle — in under a minute.

Both suspects were transported to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Barstow Jail where they were booked for vehicle theft, possession of stolen property and evading police.

The Valero employee could not be reached at his place of work for comment.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to notify Officer Michael Cardenas or Officer Adam Cortinas at the Barstow Police Department by calling (760) 256-2211.

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