Park Manager Frank Dias said; "I noticed he was, the gentleman, walking down the street just casing the place, looking back and forth. He was looking to get into something, he was looking for something to steal, or drive off and apparently he was looking for something to drive."
Dias and park owner Charley Garabedian confronted the man and told him to move on. They say he did not speak and made hand gestures indicating he was looking for a place to sleep. They saw him cross the Highway 99 overpass, then easily pull himself up and over the barbed wire topped fence around the truck lot.
Garabedian said he drove over to the truck dealership and notified a guard. The guard was unable to find the man. Minutes later Lot Manager Craig Hamby discovered the new dump truck he had just started up and left idling to charge the battery, was gone. He discovered an employee in the parts department had seen the truck drive off, not knowing it was being stolen.
Another employee got into a pickup and went after the dump truck. He spotted it, with its yellow warning light beacons flashing, weaving down the road. He called 9-1-1. A nearby Highway Patrol Officer found the truck parked in an orchard near Clovis Avenue and Malaga. Nobody was behind the wheel, but Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Curtice said the alleged thief soon appeared. "The suspect walked out of the orchard and an altercation or a fight ensued. During the fight the officer was injured, it continued for several seconds during which time the officer drew his handgun and shot the suspect."
The suspect died at the scene. His name had not been released as of 6PM Thursday. The officer sustained moderate injuries. The investigation is being handled by the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.
The truck is valued at around $175,000. It was returned to the dealership Thursday evening.NEWS BY LOCATION | ABC30 BLOGS | DISCUSSION FORUMS
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