Thief May Have Been Shot in Getaway

Times Staff Writer

Police are seeking a man who may have been shot by the owner of a Fountain Valley store Thursday afternoon after he allegedly stole vacuum cleaners from the store.

Fountain Valley Police Detective Dann Bean said the apparent shooting occurred about 4 p.m. Thursday after a man entered the Southwest Sewing & Vacuum Center at 8876 Warner Ave. and took several vacuum cleaners from a window display.

The man then went out to a truck in which a driver was waiting, placed the appliances in the back of the truck, and the two began to leave the scene, Bean said.

The store's owner, identified by police as Joseph Schwalbe, after witnessing the theft, followed the man out of the store and fired two shots at the departing truck with a pistol he was carrying, Bean said.

Police found the truck, which had been reported stolen in Stanton the day before, about 15 minutes later. Bean said there was a large quantity of blood on the front seat, two bullet holes in the back of the truck where Schwalbe's shots apparently had hit it, but signs of only one exit hole on the other side.

Police are unsure whether it was the driver or the man who took the vacuum cleaners who was apparently wounded, Bean said.

No gunshot victims had been treated at local hospitals as of 9:30 p.m. Thursday, he said.

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