Both local broadcast media and neighborhood social media channels were abuzz early this morning as a police pursuit of a stolen U-Haul truck wound through several local neighborhoods over the course of about six hours starting at approximately 12:45 a.m. The driver finally surrendered to police on the 600 block of S. Sycamore Ave. around 6:45 a.m.
According to a lengthy stream of updates on the crowd-sourced Citizen crime reporting app, the incident was first reported to police at 12:46 a.m., near W. 8th St. and S. Lucerne Blvd. From there, according to the cascading reports, the driver led police on a zig-zagging route through a number of local neighborhoods and streets, including Olympic Blvd., Rimpau Blvd., Pico Blvd., La Brea Ave., 3rd, 4th, and 6th Streets, Highland Avd., and Wilshire Blvd., with police in pursuit both on the ground and in the air.
At several points, according to a KABC-TV 7 report, police tried to stop the truck by placing tack strips in the street, which Citizen users also reported just before 1:30 a.m. But while KABC-TV 7 video shows the truck rolling on flattened tires along Wilshire Blvd. at one point, the driver kept going for several more hours.
Conrad Starr, president of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, told the Buzz that he heard the commotion as it passed along his block. “Yes, it was right here on the 700 South block of Mansfield. Helicopters overhead, including news choppers. LAPD on their bullhorn yelling get out to the driver of the U-Haul. Myself, I was in my apartment near the back of my building, so what I heard were non-stop sirens and helicopters from 1:30 until apparently four or five in the morning.”
Ray Zahed, who also lives on the 700 block of S. Mansfield, told the Buzz that he was awakened around 2 a.m. by sirens, helicopters and bullhorns, and watched the ruckus from his 2nd floor apartment. Zahed described the procession as the “slowest moving U-Haul in the history of heists.” In fact, he said, it was so leisurely that many people were on the street, following on foot and recording video on their cell phones, even though it was 2:30 in the morning.
Eventually, police reportedly barricaded the 600 block of S. Sycamore Ave. and the vehicle stopped there just before 6 a.m. The suspect did not immediately exit the truck, but finally emerged and surrendered peacefully to police, with no struggle and no shots fired, at 6:41 a.m.
So far, no further information is available about the origin of the incident or the suspect who was taken into custody.