NEWPORT BEACH : Suspect Linked to 4 Robberies Arrested

A man suspected of committing four robberies in Orange and Los Angeles counties was arrested after he hit two motorists with his car, police said Tuesday.

When officers arrested William Wasz, 31, of North Hollywood about 9:45 p.m. Monday, they found Wasz had shot himself in the leg, Sgt. Andy Gonis said, adding that police did not know why. Wasz was treated for the wound and placed in the city jail with bail set at $50,000.

A citizen reported about 9:25 p.m. Monday of seeing a drunk driver at 8th Street and West Bay Avenue, police said.

Officers saw the truck 10 minutes later southbound on Newport Boulevard at 30th Street.

When the driver saw the police car, he turned at 29th Street and then headed back on Newport Boulevard, driving north on southbound lanes, Gonis said. Just past Via Lido, he jumped over the center divider and drove with northbound traffic.

Near West Coast Highway, the driver rear-ended a 1989 Pontiac driven by Edward Morse, 49, of Irvine, police said.

The suspect then turned east on West Coast Highway with officers still chasing him. About a quarter mile later, with slow traffic on the road, the suspect drove into the left-turn pocket and hit a 1993 Infinity driven by Michael Monaco, 34, of Newport Beach, Gonis said.

Wasz then tried to run away, hobbling on one leg, but was caught in front of Newport Classic Inn, 2300 W. Coast Highway. Police did not know when Wasz shot himself in the leg.

Morse, the driver of the first car that was hit, was treated for scratches and bruises and released, Gonis said. Monaco was taken to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana to be treated for a concussion and a rib fracture.

Investigators said the truck Wasz had been driving had been stolen from Beverly Hills.

Inside the truck were a handgun, drug paraphernalia, sound equipment, alcohol and at least $500 in cash believed to have been taken in robberies earlier in the day, Gonis said.

Wasz was believed to be the suspect in robberies of a Blockbuster Video store in Hawaiian Gardens, a Music Plus store in Tustin, and a Pizza Hut and a liquor store in Huntington Beach, Gonis said.

The suspect was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Municipal Court in Newport Beach.

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