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Crime Spree Suspect Arrested After Stealing Richmond Police Car

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Richmond Police Cruiser, patrol car

A Richmond Police patrol car. (CBS)

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RICHMOND (CBS SF) – Police have arrested a man who they say stole a Richmond police car and led officers on a chase in the culmination of an all-day crime spree Tuesday that spanned two counties.

Edgar James, 32, was arrested in Richmond shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday after hopping into a police patrol car and leading officers on a cross-town chase, Richmond police Lt. Bisa French said.

Police believe James is responsible for a rash of home invasion robberies and carjackings in Contra Costa and Solano counties earlier that day.

Shortly before the chase, officers had located James in the 700 block of 18th Street in Richmond after finding a car there that he had allegedly stolen from a Vacaville resident hours earlier, French said.

When officers arrived, James stole the patrol car and sped away, even after an officer shot at the car in an attempt to stop him, she said.

Officers chased him for about 10 minutes before cornering the patrol car in a cul-de-sac on Reid Court.

James struggled with police, who used a Taser to subdue him and take him into custody, French said.

French said James is suspected in a day-long series of crimes that included several home invasion robberies and carjackings in El Cerrito, Kensington, Martinez and Vacaville.

“He was on a one-man crime spree—the final straw was taking a police car.” French said. “This guy was very dangerous. We’re glad he’s off the street.”

French said that James, who has an address in Castro Valley and ties to Richmond, has an extensive criminal history.

His alleged crime spree began around 9 a.m. in El Cerrito, when police responded to a report of a prowler at a home on Baron Court.

A short time later, police received a call from a resident on nearby King Drive who reported being attacked by an intruder who had kicked down the door. The resident said the intruder had taken property and fled, El Cerrito police said.

An El Cerrito officer saw the suspect fleeing the area in a car that had been stolen from a neighbor’s home.

Later that day, a police officer in Kensington spotted the suspect driving through a residential area in a different car. That car had been stolen from a Kensington resident at gunpoint, El Cerrito police said.

Police trailed the driver through the hilly neighborhood, but lost track of him after he drove onto a fire trail.

Meanwhile, police in Martinez got a call around 12:48 p.m. from someone reporting that an armed man had entered a home on Donaleen Court and demanded cash.

After taking $200 from the resident, James stole a car at gunpoint from the home’s other resident, police said.

At 2:37 p.m., police learned that the car stolen in Martinez had been found in Vacaville in front of another home where someone had entered and stolen a vehicle.

About three hours later, at 5:34 p.m., another resident of Donaleen Court in Martinez reported a suspicious vehicle parked in her driveway—the same car reported stolen in Kensington hours earlier.

After the police chase and struggle with Richmond officers, James was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, then booked into jail.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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