Shoplifting suspects crash into restaurant after chase

FRESNO, Calif.

Employees at a clothing store on Blackstone and Barstow say four young women stole several items and then ran from the store, only to crash their getaway car before leaving the parking lot.

As the suspected shoplifters sped away from the clothing store in this shopping center, they lost control of their car and smashed into this dumpster then right into the drive-thru at a Robertito's restaurant.Eventually they tried to run away, but police caught up with at least two of them.

The front end of this compact S.U.V. seems to be better off than the wall at the Mexican restaurant. Employees from the nearby Family Clothes store say the crash happened after four shop lifters ran off with stolen merchandise Saturday afternoon.

"They looked kind of suspicious, but we didn't think anything of it until they took off running and set off sensors," said Esteban Guerra with Family Clothes.

Guerra chased down the thieves once they left the store. He watched as the car they were in lost control and skidded through the parking lot. Guerra said the car smashed into a dumpster as it swerved, and then crashed into the wall of a Robertito's drive-thru.

Guerra said the driver of the car still tried to drive off, but the S.U.V.'s engine stalled out. "When the car stopped they took off running, and we found merchandise on them. Three shirts and a pair of jeans."

Police pulled several other clothing items, with family clothes tags on them, out of the S.U.V. as well. One woman who was in the S.U.V. told police she had no knowledge of the theft.

Employees inside the restaurant declined an interview, but did say the crash was very loud. There is also considerable damage to a storage room inside the building.

Both the clothing store and the restaurant are open following the incident. Family Clothing store employees say they're used to petty theft incidents, but nothing quite this dramatic.

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