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Officer Nabs 1 of 3 Men Trying to Steal His Car

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A California Highway Patrol officer on his way to work Thursday caught three men allegedly attempting to steal his car. He fired a shot when one of them threatened him with a screwdriver, police said.

It was not known if anyone was hit by gunfire during the altercation in front of the unidentified officer’s home in the 5000 block of Duncannon Avenue, Westminster Police Lt. Larry Woessner said.

One of the three men was captured, but two others got away in a yellow van after the 4:30 a.m. incident.

Woessner said the officer, who was wearing his uniform, left his house to go to work when he heard the engine of his car idling in the driveway.

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“That really confused him because he wasn’t in it,” Woessner said.

Seeing the officer, the three jumped out of the car and began running, Woessner said. The officer caught one of them and began struggling with him while the other two climbed into a van and drove off.

Seconds later, the van backed up and one of the men got out carrying a screwdriver. He then approached the officer, who was still holding the third man.

After the two suspected car thieves talked to each other briefly in Spanish, the screwdriver-wielding man lifted his arm up, apparently getting ready to attack, Woessner said.

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“He (the officer) was getting in a bad situation,” Woessner said. “The officer felt like he was in danger and fired the weapon.”

The man with the screwdriver then bolted back into the van, which departed. It was last seen heading north on the San Diego Freeway. It was not known if the screwdriver-wielding man was wounded, Woessner said.

The Westminster Police Department and the Orange County district attorney’s office are handling the investigation.


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