Police are being blamed for bungling the recovery of a stolen 1997 Honda Civic which ended up with the car being totally destroyed on Thursday morning.
At 7:12 a.m. on Thursday, Ceres Police were told about a car that was stolen from the 3100 block of Whitmore Avenue. A follow up with Forest Auto Sales where the car was purchased alerted officers that the car was equipped with a GPS tracking device. Ceres Police located the car in the Burger King parking lot near Home Depot but after minutes of watching for a suspect, nobody materialized. According to Ceres Police Department spokesman Lt. Chris Perry, officers called Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force (StanCATT) to see if they would take over the surveillance and were told no initially.
About 30 minutes police called the owner to tell her to pick up her car. However, confusion over the exact location delayed the woman's arrival. At that time StanCATT officers arrived and watched a man push start the car and then got into a pursuit with the car and driver. The chase went on Bystrum, Latimer and River Road where it crashed near Mancini Park.
The suspect fled on foot and was not apprehended.
The woman who owns the car has filed a complaint with the department.