North County carjackers go 1-for-3

Perps traded an Acura and Honda for a Dodge

Sheriff's deputies reported that North County tow-truck driver narrowly escaped a carjacking attempt early Wednesday morning (November 30). A woman who stopped to help the thieves after one of them crashed during a getaway attempt, however, wasn't so lucky.

According to a report from detective James Balderson, the tow-truck driver had just repossessed a vehicle at around 4 a.m. and was driving on I-15 north of Escondido when two cars— a black 1990s Honda Civic and black 1990s Acura Integra — passed him at a high rate of speed. The driver later reported seeing the cars slowing to pull over along the freeway.

Both cars followed the tow truck as it exited on Gopher Canyon Road and headed west toward Vista. Near the intersection of Vista Valley Drive, the cars boxed in the tow truck, forcing it to stop. When the Civic driver "exited his vehicle with a shotgun, racked a round and pointed the weapon at the tow truck driver," the intended victim swerved into the middle of the road and drove away, reporting that he heard a shot fired as he did so. The Acura driver gave chase and passed the tow truck before crashing into a hill near East Vista Way.

After the truck driver had fled the scene, an unnamed 42-year-old woman came upon the crash and pulled over in her gray Dodge Neon to offer aid. The Civic driver, who had by then reached his companion, trained the shotgun on the good Samaritan and stole her car.

About an hour later, a pickup driver at a Temecula park-and-ride reported an attempted carjacking by two men and a woman in a gray Dodge Neon. The driver of the truck escaped the robbery by ramming the car, though two shots were fired into the side of his vehicle.

The tow-truck driver described the Acura-driving suspect as "a Hispanic male adult in his late 20s, about 5'10" tall, medium build, light complexion and facial hair on his chin," while his companion in the Honda with the shotgun as "a Hispanic male adult in his mid-20s, about 5'10" tall, thin build with a mustache."

Both suspects, their female companion, and the carjacked Neon remain at large.

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