Both the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles Police Department chased a suspected car thief across L.A. Thursday night, only to give up on the chase right before a confused suspect attempted to surrendered.
The LAPD spotted the suspected stolen Kia around 10 p.m. Thursday night in downtown Los Angeles. CHP picked up the pursuit both on the ground and in the air as the suspect proceeded to drag law enforcement nearly 20 miles to the San Fernando Valley and then back to Los Angeles, according to KTLA.
Once the suspect began running red lights, driving into oncoming traffic and racing down surface streets, police ended their ground pursuit. Only news choppers were following along with the stolen Kia. Eventually, the driver pulled into a Ralph’s grocery store parking lot and attempted to give himself up to law enforcement, only, there were no officers there to make an arrest.
The suspect exited the Kia in front of the store and put his hands above his head as customers filed past him. The suspect even laid down on the pavement with his hands out for a few moments before a woman came and collected him. He looked around, extremely confused, before the two walked away from the scene without issue. Police eventually responded to the parking lot over the abandoned car, but seemed to have no knowledge of the chase. It is unknown if the suspect was eventually apprehended.
While folks on the internet are shocked that the cops would let a criminal go like this, to be fair, giving up on a chase this dangerous is totally the correct move: Police chases are deadly and dangerous for cops, suspects and innocent bystanders. From 1995 to 2015, police chases led to over 7,000 fatalities, according to the Bureau of Justice statistics, half of those deaths were either of bystanders or a cop. That comes out to about one death a day.