Man pleads guilty to stealing Poway sheriff’s cruiser
By Kelly Wheeler
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man who was on drugs when he stole a sheriff’s cruiser and led officers on a pursuit from Poway to Carmel Valley pleaded guilty Thursday to auto theft and DUI charges.
Sean Michael Webber, 30, also admitted a prior DUI conviction, a 2007 assault conviction from Los Angeles County when he shot at a drug dealer, and being an ex-felon in possession of a weapon, said his attorney, Brad Patton.
The defendant will be sentenced to four years in state prison at a hearing March 12.
Webber, who had been diagnosed with paranoid delusional disorder, believed members of the sheriff’s volunteer patrol were beckoning him to the cruiser last Oct. 2 at Midland and Twin Peaks roads, Patton said.
The defendant put his car in park, walked up to the sheriff’s cruiser with the key in it, and drove off, Patton said.
The Sheriff’s Department Senior Volunteer Patrol was in the area assisting with traffic control for Poway’s annual “Tour de Poway” cycling event at the time. Two members of the volunteer patrol were standing near the cruiser when Webber stole it, said Sgt. Daniel Vengler.
A deputy spotted the vehicle minutes later and a pursuit ensued, according Vengler, who said Webber led deputies out of Poway toward the coast.
San Diego police assisted with the pursuit until authorities decided to back off and let a sheriff’s helicopter crew follow the stolen cruiser. The California Highway Patrol also assisted by closing intersections.
Webber eventually drove to the end of a cul-de-sac in the Carmel Valley area, stopping briefly before barreling through a fence to get to another street, Vengler said.
He then drove backward slowly toward the sheriff’s, San Diego Police and CHP vehicles that had converged on the area, but then bounded out of the still-moving cruiser and surrendered, Vengler said.
The vehicle came to a stop on its own and the only property damage was to the fence Webber crashed through and to the cruiser, Vengler said, noting no one was injured in the 23-mile, 38-minute pursuit.
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