MISSION VIEJO, CA — A Monday morning hit and run caused a flurry of police activity in Mission Viejo, and two schools were placed on lockdown, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson. At just before 11:45 a.m. Trabuco Hills High School and Del Lago Elementary school were both locked down while officers sought the suspect who crashed a reported stolen white Chevy SUV in the area, before fleeing on foot.
The suspect was later detained, and two schools taken off lockdown, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Mission Viejo Police Services Lt. Quyen Vuong, but it was his description of the suspect that got the city talking on social media.
Deputies searched the area of Marguerite Parkway and Mustang Run for about an hour, during the lockdown. The suspect in question was seen running south on Marguerite, and was described as Caucasian or Hispanic in his teens or 20s, approximately 5-feet, 10-inches tall, wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and green underwear.
The choice of the suspect’s undergarments caused the city to pause.
"I won’t even ask why we know he is wearing green underwear," Philippe Tusler said over Facebook comment during the search.
Later, after the suspect was apprehended, Lt. Vuong explained.
"The suspect fled the area and was described by several witnesses to be wearing green underwear with baggy jeans," Vuong said. "The vehicle was reported stolen out of Fresno and numerous stolen property and driver’s licenses were found inside the vehicle." The suspect was also thought to have been involved with another stolen vehicle report from earlier in the day.
Mail, personal property, and credit cards were located within the Tahoe, along with other items, according to Vuong. The credit cards had been used at Target and Walmart in the area, and video will be investigated.
Mission Viejo deputies with the assistance from OCSD Lake Forest and Duke, as well as undercover deputies in the apprehension. South Directed Enforcement Team, proactive investigation of career criminals, were on the case. That team caught the suspect, who had changed clothes, attempting to blend in with his surroundings.
"With the assistance from a few witnesses, we found the suspect in the Vista Del Lago apartments trying to blend in," Vuong said. "The victims positively identified the suspect and he was arrested for today’s hit-and-run, being in possession of a stolen vehicle, drugs and drug paraphernalia, and being possessing stolen property from RSM, Irvine, Brea, and Fullerton."
The suspect also had an active warrant for his arrest for similar crimes. "At this time we believe he was working solo," Vuong said. "He claims that he is a homeless person from Brea." The suspect was interrogated by officers and will be booked for multiple crimes across South Orange County.
"We have names of his victims, and will be reaching out to them, and many cases will be closed," Vuong told Patch.
"Great teamwork by citizens and deputies!" Vuong said.
OCSD Mission Viejo Photo