BBQ, Donuts, and High-Speed Chase: Serial Car Thief Takes Plea Deal for Dramatic String of Crimes

By Peter Eibert

SACRAMENTO, CA – Lao Vang, a serial car thief, was in Sacramento County Superior Court Wednesday afternoon for charges concerning yet another string of car thefts, property theft, and evading arrest.

Prior to the hearing, Vang had already been convicted of three felony car thefts in 2001, 2007, and 2013.

But this series of crimes involved BBQ, donuts and a high speed chase.

For his most recent crimes, Vang took a plea deal negotiated between his defense attorney, Alan Donato, and Deputy District Attorney Adrianne McMillan. The plea deal was for a six year and four month long sentence, as opposed to the maximum sentence for his crimes of seven years and four months.

As for Vang’s most recent crimes, they all occurred on or around the same day of June 4, 2020. These crimes appeared to be more ambitious, reckless, and dangerous than the crimes that resulted in his prior car theft convictions.

On June 4, 2020, Vang stole a Volkswagen Passat from San Jose. He also stole a car from the Avis rental car agency at the Sacramento International Airport, although he ultimately departed the airport in a Cadillac CTS that he stole from the nearby Hertz rental car agency.

According to DDA Adrianne McMillan, Vang attempted to flee from officers who tried to arrest him for stealing the Cadillac CTS. McMillan stated that Vang could not claim to have not noticed the peace officers, as their vehicles were clearly marked and their police lights and sirens were on.

Vang allegedly drove at 120 miles per hour on the I-5 in the stolen Cadillac CTS during a six mile chase. He allegedly “dr[ove] so fast his tires broke traction” and performed dangerous maneuvers, such as splitting both lanes of traffic and failing to use his turn signal.

Based on these actions, McMillan held that Vang demonstrated clear “willful want and disregard for the safety of persons and property.”

Vang’s crime spree didn’t end there. After a nice barbecue meal at Sauced BBQ and Spirits in downtown Sacramento on June 4, 2020, Vang stole the hostess’ Honda CRV after “skipping out on his check.”

The next day, Vang stole the POS (point of sales) system from Donuts Break in Sacramento, which was worth approximately $1,100. Vang simply “picked up the POS machine… and left the store with [it]” after his credit card was declined while attempting to buy a drink.

That POS system was subsequently found in one of the cars Vang had stolen when he was finally caught by police.

In the end, Judge Patrick Marlette sentenced Vang to the agreed upon plea sentence of six years and four months after finding him guilty on all charges.

Judge Marlette declined to grant probation “because of the facts and circumstances of this case, and in particular because of [Vang’s] prior criminal history,” clearly referencing Vang’s habitual auto theft and dangerous behavior.

Judge Marlette also ordered Vang to pay restitution to the Avis rental car agency, the Hertz rental car agency, the hostess, and the owner of Donuts Break.

Due to his 844 accumulated credit days – 422 days for time already served and another 422 days for good behavior – Vang will ultimately serve four years more of his sentence.

About The Author

Peter Eibert is a fourth-year student at UC Davis, majoring in Political Science and minoring in History. He is originally from Half Moon Bay, California.

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