Charles Nelson, 46 years old from Santa CruzOn Tuesday 2/21/15 at approximately 2:51 p.m. an alert Santa Cruz Police Officer patrolling on the Westside located stolen tan Ford F-150 pickup truck parked on Chico Street. The Officer observed and followed the pickup truck as it drove south on Chico.
SCPD Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The driver of the F-150 truck failed to yield to the officer’s lights and siren and sped away. The truck then turned north onto Swanton, which was closed off to traffic due to crews working on a large tree that had fallen onto the roadway 200 yards north of West Cliff. The suspect drove through the yellow construction tape, over the median and continued north in the southbound lane of Swanton.
Responding officers ended their pursuit due to excessive speed and reckless driving of the suspect. Patrol Officers continued their search for the suspect and quickly found the truck abandoned at West Cliff and Cowell.
Thanks go to witnesses who reported seeing the suspect driver get out the vehicle and sprint away towards the Dream Inn. Several SCPD units responded to the hotel. Officers swiftly located Charles Nelson attempting to blend in with guests inside the hotel.
The tan F-150 truck that Mr. Nelson was driving was reported stolen six days prior. The stolen vehicle was returned to the registered owner yesterday afternoon.
Further investigation revealed that in addition to this stolen vehicle, Mr. Nelson is on probation for a previously stolen car charge.
Charles Nelson was arrested and transported to jail for vehicle theft, reckless driving, and violation of probation.
SCPD crime prevention tips to help prevent your vehicle from being stolen.• Always lock and secure your vehicle, even if you are only going to be away from your vehicle for a couple of minutes.
• Never leave your car running and unattended, or leave the keys in your vehicle.
• Never hide a spare key to your car or truck on or inside the vehicle.
• Park in well-lighted and highly visible areas.
• Consider installing an alarm, an ignition kill switch, a mechanical anti-theft device, or vehicle tracking system.
• If your car or truck features an alarm or anti-theft device – use it. Thieves are reluctant to steal such vehicles. Many insurers offer discounts for the types of systems listed below.
• Do not leave valuables where they are visible, such as briefcases, purses, wallets, laptop/camera bags, gym bags, cellular phones, or any electronic items or devices. These types of articles make it enticing for thieves.
• Most importantly, always report any suspicious people or vehicles to SCPD. Call 9-1-1. Often the community reporting and calling the police is what leads to a suspects' arrest.
SCPD dedicates itself to our community with ongoing efforts to keep Santa Cruz a safe place to live, work and raise a family. Please continue to contact SCPD when suspicious activity occurs in your neighborhood.