The theft happened about 4:30 p.m. in the 14000 block of Merrill Avenue in Fontana, near Auto Club Speedway. A deputy was taking a report, and when he went back out to his car, it was gone, a sheriff’s news release said.
Surveillance video helped deputies identify the thief as Griffieth, a man with convictions for drug possession and inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, as well as numerous traffic violations, according to Superior Court records.
Law enforcement agencies joined in the hunt, and about 5:30 p.m., a sheriff’s helicopter crew and Ontario police found the stolen SUV in the area of East Rosewood Court and Orange Avenue. Griffieth was arrested without a struggle, the release said. All police weapons and equipment were accounted for.
The Sheriff’s Department is investigating how the patrol car was stolen. Investigators ask anyone with information to call the Fontana station at 909-356-6767 or leave anonymous tips with We Tip at 800-782-7463 or the website wetip.com.