Months of stolen-vehicle activity in the city of Davis took a dramatic turn early Friday morning when a suspected car thief rammed a patrol vehicle that was hot on his tail, authorities said.
Lt. Paul Doroshov said officers have reported a sharp increase in the number of vehicles — mostly Honda and Acura models — being either stolen from or recovered in Davis. Many of the cars have been taken from or dumped in the Bay Area.
Officer Pheng Ly was patrolling the 1800 block of Cowell Boulevard in South Davis, a frequent dumping ground for the stolen cars, shortly before 2 a.m. Friday when a routine license-plate check on an Acura revealed it had been reported stolen out of Oakland, Doroshov said. When Ly attempted to pull over the car, the driver allegedly took off.
A high-speed chase ensued to Benbow Court, a dead-end street where Ly tried to block the suspect with his patrol car, prompting the Acura’s driver to ram the police car and make an escape, Doroshov said.
The pursuit continued for another third of a mile to a parking lot at 3000 Lillard Drive, where Doroshov said the driver ditched the stolen car and fled on foot. Police found him hiding in the back yard of a home in the 1200 block of Lillard.
Teluluai Francis Lesui, 25, of Oakland, was lodged at the Yolo County Jail on suspicion of vehicle theft, evading police and assault with a deadly weapon, as well as possession and transportation of a control substance after officers reported finding methamphetamine inside the Acura.
Ly was not injured, though his patrol vehicle sustained moderate damage, Doroshov said.
Twelve cars were stolen in Davis during the month of December, matching a monthly average recorded in 2008, when police received 145 vehicle theft reports for the year, Doroshov said. Another 97 thefts occurred in 2009, followed by 100 in 2010 and 91 in 2011.
Doroshov said the stolen cars are often dismantled for parts or used in other crimes, then abandoned.
— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene