An auto theft investigation led Visalia police on a chase through the county and it ended with a violent altercation.
With the help of surrounding law enforcement, officers were able to nab the suspected auto thieves who nearly got away.
Officers got the call just before 6 a.m. Thursday. Witnesses told 911 dispatchers a car had been stolen from a home in the 800 block of South Linda Vista Street in Visalia.
While officers were on their way to the home, they spotted the stolen vehicle near Victor Avenue and County Center Drive.
Officers began following the vehicle.
The suspects ran into trouble when they drove into a nearby cul-de-sac. It was around that time the suspects spotted two police cars.
The suspects weren’t ready to give up, though.
Instead, the driver tried to ram into the patrol vehicles that had followed them, said Visalia Sgt. Curtis Brown.
They were able to escape and police took chase. The pursuit was called off as officers approached Mooney Boulevard and Road 272. Traffic was picking up and officers took safety into consideration.
But that wasn’t the last time police would see the suspected thieves.
A short time later, the vehicle was spotted near Cartmill Avenue and Road 132, just outside of Tulare. Officers sped toward the vehicle but lost sight of it near Avenue 184 and Road 76.
A description of the vehicle was shared with surrounding law enforcement agencies.
Visalia police were determined to catch the suspected bad guys.
The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department advised a short time later that they had located the vehicle near Avenue 152 and Road 112, near Tulare.
When the suspects saw flashing police lights they jumped out of the vehicle and ran. Officers called for backup from the Tulare Police Department and California Highway Patrol.
During the search, a Tulare police dog managed to track down Jesse Alaniz, 30. The second suspect — Manuel Ramirez, 28 — was found hiding in the area. Both were arrested.
The Tulare County Regional Auto Theft Task Force was called to help in the investigation.
Ramirez and Alaniz were booked into the Tulare County Pretrial Facility on numerous charges related to the auto theft, running from police, and assault with a deadly weapon stemming from them using the vehicle to ram police cars.
Alaniz was treated for dog bite injuries before being booked into jail.
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