High-speed chase begins in Hacienda Heights, ends at Tom Hanks movie

He should have chosen a more popular movie.

A high-speed car chase that started in Hacienda Heights on Thursday night ended with the suspect trying to hide in a nearly empty showing of the Tom Hanks film “The Circle” in South Gate, police said.

Christopher Cook of La Mirada is suspected of stealing a “bait package” in Arcadia — an expensive item that Arcadia police shipped to a local home with a device that helps them track packages stolen from residents’ doorsteps.

The bait packages are equipped with a GPS device that alerts police when a parcel has been moved from a residence after it was delivered. Typically, the packages contain items worth more than $950 so that their theft constitutes a felony, police say.


On Thursday, Arcadia police were alerted to a possible theft at 6:39 p.m.

Police tracked the package to a Hacienda Heights parking lot, where the chase began.

Cook, who police say was driving a stolen 2017 Hyundai Sonata, hit speeds of up to 110 mph as he led cruisers down the 60 Freeway, KTLA helicopter footage showed. At one point, the driver hit traffic and switched to surface streets — as any Southern Californian would.

Eventually the driver reached South Gate, abandoned his car in front of an Edwards Cinemas and ran inside, chase video showed.


Once indoors, he ran into a theater and sat in a corner seat before security entered and asked the three other people watching the movie to leave, one moviegoer told ABC 7.

“At first, I was really scared. … Not knowing what was going on made me really scared,” moviegoer Debbie Lopez told CBS.

Police then entered the theater and arrested Cook, 27, on suspicion of theft, evading arrest and possession of a stolen vehicle, Arcadia Police Sgt. Ernest Lopez said.

Cook is being held in lieu of $115,000 bail.


Reach Sonali Kohli at or on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli.