Life sentence looming for burglary suspect who fell from Save Mart ceiling in Fresno

Pheng Vang, who hid for over a day in the ceiling of a NE Fresno Save Mart, will have to stand trial on all charges against him.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2022
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Pheng Vang, who hid for more than a day in the ceiling of a northeast Fresno Save Mart store, will have to stand trial on all the charges against him.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The burglary suspect who ran from sheriff's deputies and hid for more than a day in the ceiling of a northeast Fresno Save Mart store will have to stand trial on all the charges against him.

Pheng Vang had dozens of officers surrounding him and searching for him, but he escaped until after they left.

RELATED: Fresno police catch suspect after he falls out of Save Mart ceiling

The criminal charges have proved harder to shake.

Burglars found what they thought was an a easy mark in the Caruthers area when the homeowner went on vacation in May.

Vicki Day came home to quite a mess.

"The wallboard in my hallway was torn off the wall and piled in the middle of the hallway," said the burglary victim.

The crooks had rummaged through her entire house - stealing jewelry, guns, and lots more.

Detectives say surveillance video showed someone manipulate the camera to stay hidden, but deputies saw just enough to identify a car from the video when they saw it a couple days later.

They say Pheng Vang owned the car and they saw him get in it at the River Park Macy's.

A deputy fired at least one shot, but the suspect slipped away and led them on about a mile-long chase to a dirt lot at First and Nees.

"It's all loose gravel," said Detective Kyle Konze of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. "They do carnivals there. It was a large cloud of dust and I could see the vehicle just doing donuts out there."

Deputies say they saw Vang get out of his car and run towards the Save Mart grocery store across the street.

They evacuated the entire shopping center and eventually called for help from Fresno police officers. The long standoff ended only after police gave up on catching Vang there.

But detectives found plenty of evidence in the car he left behind.

"A majority of the stolen property was located in his vehicle," said Det. Konze.

About 40 hours after ditching deputies at Macy's, Vang fell out of the ceiling of the reopened store.

RELATED: 'I'm still shaking': ABC30 editor spotted suspect in Fresno Save Mart, alerted employees

An Action News employee spotted him and helped lead police to the suspect.

"He eventually gave up and allowed us to take him into custody," said Fresno police officer Brian Meza, who chase Vang to a nearby apartment complex and made the arrest.

A judge decided Tuesday there's enough evidence for Vang to stand trial on four felonies.

If he's convicted on all the charges, Vang could face a sentence of 45 years to life in prison because he has four prior strikes.