By Lauren Zaren
What began as a peculiar instance of petty theft turned into a police chase through West Sacramento.
Shortly before noon on July 19, 2019, officers responded to a report of petty theft at a Target in West Sacramento. The manager reported that Matthew William Fogg had stolen two Horizon milk boxes from the Starbucks portion of the store.
Officers Nvard Avagyan and William Silvermaster of West Sacramento Police Department received further details from the manager. She reported that the defendant went into the Starbucks three times in close succession. Initially, he ordered a drink but could not pay the full amount he owed. A kind woman paid the remaining portion of his bill. He then left the building, returning soon after, but it is unclear what he was doing in the store this time.
Finally, he entered the Starbucks a third time, took two boxes of Horizon chocolate milk, and ran out to his Maroon Saturn. The manager also mentioned that the man was acting strangely the whole time she saw him, talking to himself, waving his arms, and jumping around “oddly.”
After leaving the parking lot, Mr. Fogg passed the officers’ car on a nearby road, at which point the police initiated a vehicle stop, turning on their lights and siren. The defendant pulled over and was instructed to turn his vehicle off and throw the keys out of the window. Officer Silvermaster testified that he was “slow to comply but eventually did.”
During the interaction, Mr. Fogg was moving erratically, and popped his head out of the window several times, eventually opening the door to lean out and grab his car keys from the ground. The officers estimated that he drove off suddenly from their encounter at a speed of 70 mph going southbound on Jefferson Blvd.
Throughout the pursuit, the defendant allegedly ran two red lights, first at the intersection of Jackson and Lake Washington, and then at the intersection of Jackson and Lyndon. Officer Silvermaster confirmed that both lights were “stale,” meaning Mr. Fogg had not simply missed the signal change by a second or two.
At one point he reached a speed of 98 mph in a zone with a 45 mph limit. He also spent a short time driving into oncoming traffic during the chase. Eventually, the police lieutenant canceled the pursuit, citing potential danger to surrounding community members and the fact that the crime was only a misdemeanor.
Mr. Fogg will be held to answer for count 1, a felony charge for evading a police officer, and count 2, a misdemeanor charge for petty theft. An arraignment will be held on November 8th at 10am in Department 13.