Burglars lead Visalia police on a chase with car full of stolen property

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Visalia police said observant neighbors ended up helping officers track down two burglars with a car full of stolen property. (KFSN)

Visalia police said observant neighbors ended up helping officers track down two burglars with a car full of stolen property.

A mangled Suzuki SUV still has police tape hanging out of the window after Visalia police finally caught up with the suspects they pursued all the way to Exeter. "The pursuit lasted about nine minutes, the speeds ranged anywhere from 50 miles an hour up to about 90 miles an hour at the top end," said Lt. Ed Lynn, Visalia Police Department.

Investigators said 20-year-old Makaella Leonardo ran several red lights on a chase from a quiet neighborhood on Green Oaks and Court Street, down Caldwell to the Sunkist Plant. There, detectives said, she slammed into four parked cars before rolling the SUV.

Officers said Leonardo and her passenger, 32-year-old Jorge Suarez, were already wanted on burglary warrants. Inside the car, they found cell phones, jewelry boxes, mail, and stacks of gift cards and credit cards in various names.

Detectives said it was alert neighbors who spotted the suspicious couple driving around their block early Tuesday morning and called police. "We responded some units to the area, they located the vehicle that neighbors had pointed out. At that time they approached the vehicle and located what we call a vicious canine, or a vicious dog, that was in the back seat of the car," said Lynn.

Officers ordered the burglary suspects to get out of the car and talk with them away from the dog. Instead, police said, Leonardo drove away. The pursuit ended only after the crash when Leonardo and Suarez weren't able to get out of the car without the help of firefighters. The dog jumped out and ran away. Now officers are picking through the stolen property, trying to track down the victims.

The suspects are facing several charges, including evading a peace officer and possession of stolen property.
Related Topics:
newsvisaliapolice chasehigh-speed chaseburglarytulare countyVisalia
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