Mike Wilbur

Police Chase Homeless Man in Stolen CA Fire Vehicle

An alleged car thief with a an itch to surf allegedly made off with a surfboard and wetsuit in Pismo Beach — while driving a stolen Cal Fire truck from Northern California — sparking a police pursuit just before noon Friday, officials said.

CHP Officer Patrick Seebart said the truck was allegedly stolen in Northern California and related to the theft of the surfing equipment.

It wasn’t until Santa Barbara County Sheriff deputies reported the truck in Los Alamos in northern Santa Barbara County when the pursuit began on Highway 135.

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The chase continued through Santa Maria near Harris Grade around 12:30 p.m., officials said.

The man then allegedly drove onto Highway 1, which merged with Highway 135, toward Orcutt before he made a U-turn in a soft-centered median, the release said.

“Before he could make it back onto the roadway, deputies used pursuit intervention techniques to successfully stop the vehicle,” Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. “Due to the collaborative efforts of sheriff’s deputies, CHP officers and security forces from Vandenberg Air Force Base, the suspect was arrested at gunpoint and taken into custody without further incident.”

The driver, Donald Schellinger, a 38-year-old transient from Northern California, was arrested on suspicion of felony reckless evading, possession of stolen property, vehicle theft and a parole violation.

A Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Air Support Unit helicopter assisted in the pursuit.

Schellinger was to be booked in Santa Barbara County Jail for felony reckless evading, possession of stolen property, vehicle theft and parole violation.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully contributed to this report.

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