STOCKTON, CA - A Stockton city truck, clearly marked, was stolen right outside of the Stockton Police Department Friday morning.
Call it a crime of opportunity.
Three public works employees were changing road signs at the corner of Washington and El Dorado, near the back entrance to the police department and in front of parked patrol cars. The workers said they positioned two city trucks at opposite ends of the intersection with their emergency lights flashing, while they climbed onto the one with the lift. The truck underneath the overpass had its key in the ignition.
"A citizen started honking his horn from across the way," said employee Henry Torres. "We were wondering what it was and I had seen some movement in my truck cab. I said, 'Someone's in my truck. Let's go get 'em!' and she jumped in and took off."
The thief didn't get very far - just one block down El Dorado to Market Street, which is directly in front of the police station.
Call it a brazen criminal act or liquid courage, police officers said the woman was drunk. They identified her as 44-year-old Deanna Peters. She was arrested and booked into custody on suspicion of auto theft, driving with a suspended license, and driving under the influence.
Peters was cut off at the intersection by another public works employee and then police just backed up the truck into the police department's parking lot.
"I think I need one of those key separators," said Torres.
The workers there's a moral to this story: It doesn't matter who you are or where you are, whatever you do, don't leave your car running unattended.
by Leigh Paynter, LPaynter@news10.net