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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Passer-by helps deputies catch theft suspect after foot chase

  • Dan Lee saw a crime in progress and helped deputies track woman down
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  • Kern County Sheriff's deputies arrested a woman after a passer-by interrupted a theft in progress in Taft Heights and chased her for a short distance Friday afternoon.
    The suspect, tentatively identified as Rebecca McReynolds, 29, is charged with theft and possession of stolen property.
    The witness, Dan Lee, said he saw the suspect at a neighbor's house on the 600 block of B Street and knew she had no business there.
    “I saw her coming out of there carrying stuff,” Lee said.
    He works for the West Kern Water District and used his radio to have other employees call law enforcement.
    Lee confronted her and she ran, trying to hide between two houses a short distance away near A and Harding Streets.
    Barking dogs gave her away and she fled again, throwing a small trash bag at Lee.
    I told her 'Don't run because the Sheriff's coming, but she took off again,” Lee said.
    The woman fled to the east down A Street and on to Parkview School.
    Deputies arrived and set up a perimeter and the suspect was taken into custody on the playground.
    The incident took place at about 1:30 p.m. but the school was vacant because of Christmas vacation.
    Sheriff's Sgt. Martin Downs said the suspect had stolen mail in her possession when she was taken into custody.
    She will be charged through Kern County Superior Court and the United States Postal Service will also be notified, Downs said.
    The seargent praised Lee for helping stop a crime in progress but cautioned against taking actions that could put someone in danger.
    “I can't say enough about his power of observation and looking out for his neighbors and the neighborhood,” Downs said Friday. “He knew (the suspect) was up to no good and instead of looking the other way he got involved.”
    But downs said getting in a confrontation with a suspect can be very dangerous.
    “We don't encourage anyone to take the law into their own hands,” he said.
    McReynolds is being held in the Kern County Sheriff's central receiving facility and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 2.

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