Andrew Goff / Friday, Feb. 16 @ 10:56 a.m. / Crime
EPD Officers Track Stolen Vehicle With Victim’s Cell Phone Signal; Suspect Escapes Out Back Door of Residence
Eureka Police Department press release:
On 02/15/18, at approximately 3:34 PM, Eureka Police Department officers were dispatched to the report of a reckless driver on the Samoa Bridge. Around the same time, the Arcata Police Department notified EPD’s Communications Center they were in the process of taking a stolen vehicle report for a 2005 maroon Ford Focus, similar in description to the vehicle reported as driving recklessly.
The victim’s cell phone was in the vehicle at the time of its theft and was tracked through Eureka to the area of California Street and Hodgson Streets. An EPD officer responded to the area and located the Ford Focus which was occupied by a male driver and a female passenger. When the driver realized there were officers behind him, he accelerated quickly and fled northbound on California Street, nearly colliding head on with a vehicle being driven by a Humboldt County Probation Department officer who had arrived to assist. The Probation officer recognized the driver as Tyler Blaine Gingerich, age 21. Gingerich was on felony probation for auto theft.
EPD officers began pursuing the stolen Ford Focus northbound on California Street. The suspect failed to stop for the stop sign at Harris Street, drove north through the alley between California and A Streets, continued across Grotto Street to Henderson Street, and then proceeded west on Henderson Street. The suspect’s vehicle collided with another oncoming vehicle when it exited the alley onto Henderson Street. The pursuit continued west on Henderson Street past the shopping mall. The officer lost sight of the Ford Focus as it went down the hill towards Broadway at which time the pursuit was terminated.
The victim was re-contacted and started tracking the cell phone again which showed her phone to be in the vicinity of Myers Street in the Pine Hill area. The cell phone continued moving east to the area of Allen Court where it then appeared to stop. Officers with the California Highway Patrol arrived on scene and provided EPD with information about a house on Allen Court where the suspect was likely located. CHP and EPD officers attempted contact at the residence. While officers were speaking to someone at the front door, Gingerich fled out the back and jumped multiple fences before escaping.
The victim’s vehicle was recovered by officers, unoccupied, on the 4900 block of Myers Street.
Pursuant to Penal Code 836, a wanted person bulletin for Gingerich’s arrest was issued for felony reckless evading, hit and run with property damage, vehicle theft, and probation violation. Anyone with information about Gingerich’s whereabouts should contact the Eureka Police Department at (707) 441-4044.