Modesto Police Say Robbery Suspects Led Officers on 60-Mile High-Speed Chase

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MODESTO -- What started as an armed robbery in Modesto ended with three suspects in custody three counties away in Elk Grove.

At Auto Tech Service and Repair in Elk Grove, owner John Tran said his shop was suddenly swarmed with CHP officers with their guns drawn Tuesday.

"I was in the office, my brother, Lon Tran, he was underneath the Mercedes working on the Mercedes," he told FOX40. "They were just asking us if we saw anybody. No, we didn’t see anybody. So he just said, 'There’s a man with a gun.'"

"Initial reports were that it was an armed robbery," said Modesto police Sgt. Eric Schuller. "However, after the fact, officers investigated and determined that an armed robbery did not occur, no weapons were used."

But police say it did start as a robbery more than 60 miles from the repair shop in Elk Grove at a Rite Aid on Oakdale Road in Modesto. Three suspects were reported to have stolen items from the pharmacy, according to Modesto police.

Responding officers spotted the suspects’ white Jeep but it didn’t stop when they tried to pull it over, kicking off a pursuit that lasted more than an hour.

"During this pursuit, an officer on a motorcycle and the suspect vehicle collided in a traffic collision," Sgt. Schuller said.

That motorcycle officer was taken to the hospital and is expected to be OK.

Meanwhile, the suspects rushed north on Highway 99, at certain times going as fast as 100 mph, according to the CHP.

Soon, the suspects exited at Calvine Road and ditched the Jeep on Orchard Loop.

"And then officers were just zoning in with the handguns," Tran recalled.

Tran believes one of the suspects ran across this field toward his shop. Police were quick to release a K9 unit.

"The K9 went and bit another officer in the arm pretty bad, so he was limping," Tran said.

That officer also expected to be OK.

Tran says police soon found their missing suspect.

"He was laying flat right there with his arms spread out like this," he said.

Police say it’s still not clear if the three suspects owned that Jeep or if it was stolen.

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