Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez reported an incident involving a man who was acting erratically and believed to be on methamphetamine.
The man was arrested on Sunday afternoon after he smashed into five cars in a parking lot and resisted arrest. The 32-year-old has been identified as Francisco Vega and it’s alleged that he entered Fresno Ag Hardware on Gettysburg and First avenues and tried to purchase items sometime Sunday afternoon.
Vega scared customers and employees with his outbursts, and when his card didn’t go through, he took items from the store, Gomez said. It was at that moment that John Melikian, who is the loss prevention employee, followed Vega to his car, and Vega went back in to buy the items.
However, Melikian followed Vega into the parking lot again and tried to stop him from leaving, but Vega locked his Dodge Neon and pulled out of the parking lot, smashing six cars, including Melikian’s, on the way out. One of the police officers on a different call nearby happened to see Vega driving on Gettysburg and tried to pull him over but he wouldn’t stop.
He made a U-turn at Gettysburg Avenue, pulled into a gas station and got out of the car. It took five officers to hold Vega down, and although he was not injured, he was taken away in an ambulance because he was being combative.
Right across the street at Fresno Ag Hardware, half a dozen people waited for police reports to be taken on their cars, some just scratched and others smashed in. According to Melikian, Vega smashed into his car twice, moving it a whole parking spot. Adding that although Vega eventually paid for his items, he could tell he was in no shape to drive.
“Sir, you need to call down,” Melikian said he told Vega as he got in his car. “I need to get your keys. You’re not right to drive right now.” However, Vega did drive away. “As he was getting back in his car, I reached for his keys but he was already in,” Melikian said. The suspect will be booked into the Fresno County Jail on suspicion of hit and run, theft, resisting arrest and possibly for being under the influence of meth.