Passers-by come to deputy’s aid in arrest
February 22, 2018
Several passers-by came to the aid of a deputy, who had to subdue a suspect in a Feb. 17 shoplifting incident.
A gray Kia with three occupants was reported leaving the Grant Walmart after they allegedly boosted a plastic tote full of cameras.
Sheriff's Spokeswoman Sgt. Bernadette Smith said the deputy spotted the Kia at about 9:38 a.m. on Highway 395 near Cradlebaugh Bridge and conducted a traffic stop at Silver City RV Park.
The deputy saw a man in the Kia's back seat trying to hide. When he opened the door the man hopped out. The struggle entered into the highway's slow lane, where a passing motorist stopped to help. The Samaritan received an injury to his hand in the altercation.
The suspect ran north on the shoulder and was Tazed by the deputy. With the help of three other motorists, the deputy handcuffed the man.
Medics transported the suspect to the hospital to have the Taser probes removed from his scalp. Smith said a warrant is being sought in the case.
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The man and woman who remained in the Kia were taken into custody after a search warrant was obtained.
An estimated $3,500 in property was found in the Kia, including five cameras, a handy cam, a Go Pro and clothing.
The trio had walkie talkies that were on the same channel.
Arrested at the scene were Reno residents Clarence Wayne Garcia, 35, and the driver, Stefanie Marie Chapa, 35.
Both waived their preliminary hearings in East Fork Justice Court on Wednesday. Garcia is scheduled to appear in Douglas County District Court on March 6. Chapa was ordered to appear on March 13.
According to store security, the trio had been involved in four raids on Walmarts in Fallon and Lyon County.
Smith said deputies were grateful to the bystanders who stepped in to help.
"In other communities, a passerby would only take out their cell phone and begin recording, but not in Douglas County," she said. "We have a law enforcement supportive community."
She asked that anyone approaching a deputy in a confrontation use caution.
"Yell out from a distance to the police officer 'Do you need help? What can I do?'" she said. "If you are a CCW holder and you have your weapon, do not have your weapon visible."
The concern is that a deputy won't know if an armed subject will be a help or a threat.
"Nevada has many concealed carry permit owners and bringing a gun openly to a physical confrontation involving a peace officer will probably get you shot," she said. "The deputy does not know if you are a good guy or a bad guy, but if you have a gun out of the holster, you will be perceived as another threat to him."
She thanked those who stopped to help.
"The sheriff's office is grateful to the citizens who stopped and demonstrated valor and heroism by assisting the deputy," she said.