Wild chase after stolen SUV in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

It started after the suspects took a brand new SUV right out of someone's driveway and the chase reached speeds of 80 mph.

The person who owns the car received it two weeks ago from her boyfriend as an early Christmas present. It was stolen Saturday morning while they were warming it up in their Northwest Fresno driveway.

"You never think it's going to happen to you, that's for sure."

Brad Dennis and his girlfriend, Robin Wallace spent most of their Christmas morning tracking down Wallace's barely used SUV.

The couple was getting ready to leave for their annual Christmas snowboarding trip Saturday when two people stole the car, including all of their snowboarding equipment inside.

"It was only about two minutes of having it running. My door was open at my house, it was right out front," Brad Dennis said.

After calling police and filing a report Dennis decided to look for the car himself. It didn't take long before he spotted a man and a woman driving it on Blackstone and Herndon in Northwest Fresno.

"So I got on, chased him, called 911, chased him down 41 all the way until the cops found me."

Minutes later the California Highway Patrol started pursuing the stolen SUV.

But, the suspects wouldn't stop. That's when officers called in a CHP helicopter for help.

Together, they followed the car to the Tuscan Villas near Fowler and Jensen, where the thieves crashed it into the front gate, got out and ran off.

Officers quickly arrested the female passenger.

Later, a canine deputy from the Fresno County Sheriff's Office found the driver hiding in the backyard of someone's home.

"There were no injuries to anybody so it all worked out well," Sgt. Joseph Bianchi said. But, it didn't fare so well for the car.

In addition to the front-end damage, the suspects trashed the SUV with cans, bottles, and alcohol.

Law enforcement says this serves as a good reminder to never leave your car running unattended.

It's a tough lesson -- Brad Dennis and his girlfriend say they won't soon forget, especially on Christmas.

"Merry Christmas. A stolen SUV"

Police never found the snowboarding equipment, which was inside the car when it was stolen.

Meanwhile, the suspects' names have not been released. But, law enforcement says, the male has been arrested for stealing a car before.

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