Three suspects sought in violent cell phone theft

MADERA RANCHOS, Calif. - The Madera County Sheriff's Office is asking the public's help in identifying three people to a cell phone theft incident that resulted in an injury.

It happened on April 25 and the whole incident was caught on surveillance video footage from the Lucky 7 gas station at 37019 Avenue 12, in Madera Ranchos. The Madera County Sheriff's Office shared it on their Facebook page.

In the footage, a 62-year-old man is shown walking out of the gas station's store when he noticed a woman in her 20s in his vehicle. He yelled at her to stop as she started to run to her getaway vehicle with his cell phone on-hand.

Even after she got in her vehicle, the man continued to pursue her and ended up hanging onto the vehicle – a blue/green colored Chevy S-10 pickup truck – as it started to drive off. He continued to hold on as the vehicle as it drove on Avenue 12 and back into the gas station's parking lot.

When the man lost his grip, he was flung onto the ground. He suffered a laceration to the head. His cell phone was shown to be thrown to the ground, too, in the video.

Dorothy Brooks has lived in the area for decades. When she heard about the incident, she feels people are losing the fear of crossing the line.

"Even your own kids in your own house will steal from you," she said. "It's just how bad society has eroded."

Surveillance video footage from inside the gas station's store clearly shows the three suspects' faces. Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney is grateful for all the footage in this case.

While the phone was recovered, for Varney, it doesn't stop the fact a crime was committed.

"We don't want there to be other victims. We are going to follow this through just as far as we can so we can identify those folks," Varney said.

Varney said the incident is a reminder to make sure your possessions are secure when you leave them alone. Also, to know when it's time to count your losses.

"We want you to be around tomorrow. We don't want you to put yourself at-risk over a piece of property," he said.

The pickup truck's license plate number is AQX8488 and is a Washington state licence plate. Anyone with information can call the Madera County Sheriff's Office at 559-675-7770.

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