Three men in their 20s surrendered to police after leading them on a high-speed chase for miles down Highway 101 Thursday night, following an alleged armed robbery at a Safeway store in Santa Rosa.
The robbery occurred around 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department, at the Safeway store at 2785 Yulupa Avenue. Police responded to the scene just after the alleged robbery had occurred, and learned that "suspects stole several baskets full of merchandise totaling over $1,000 before exiting out towards a vehicle in the parking lot."
A clerk at the store reportedly tried confronting the suspects as they left, and one or more of them allegedly brandished a firearm and threatened to shoot him.
The three suspects fled the parking lot, and other Santa Rosa officers spotted a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description getting on southbound Highway 101 from the Highway 12 interchange.
Police gave chase, and the suspects reportedly sped down 101, at speeds sometimes exceeding 100 miles per hour.
"A request was made for allied agencies to assist with the pursuit, which continued past the cities of Rohnert Park and Petaluma," Santa Rosa police said in a statement. "At one point during the pursuit, occupants discarded a backpack out the passenger side window onto the roadway. The backpack was later recovered and contained a black, 40 caliber 'Glock' handgun with a 30 round magazine and ammunition inside."
Police ultimately deployed a spike strip which disabled the suspects' vehicle, and the three surrendered to police — but not until after they had attempted to drive some distance on deflated tires.
Upon searching the vehicle, police say they found "several items of merchandise from the Safeway store," as well as items "related to other store burglaries in Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa earlier in the evening."
The suspects have been identified as 21-year-old James Edward Vines of Vallejo, 23-year-old Ettievy Coats of Vallejo, and 23-year-old Gregory Garcia of San Francisco. All three were booked into Sonoma County jail on suspicion of robbery, felony evading arrest, conspiracy to commit crime, firearms possession, and possession of an unregistered firearm.
Photo via Santa Rosa PD