Irvine Police Capture Sexual Assault Suspect After Wild Pursuit

IRVINE, CA (March 15, 2008): Irvine Police captured and arrested a La Puente Man early Saturday morning for sexual assault, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, resisting arrest and using his car to escape officers, after what police called “a wild car and foot chase”. 

Irvine Police received a call at 2:50 a.m. from an 18-year-old Irvine woman that claimed she had been sexually assaulted by Miguel Angel Romero. According to Lt. Rick Handfield of the Irvine PD, the victim had met Romero through a mutual acquaintance and accepted a ride back to Irvine with him. 

Once inside her home, said Handfield, the victim alleges Romero cornered her, held her down and sexually assaulted her. 

The suspect was able to flee before police arrived but his car was spotted by police in the area at 3:55 a.m. 

Police said it initially seemed Romero was going to be compliant as they ordered him to surrender but as they approached he accelerated away, nearly mowing down one officer who was on foot and another in a patrol car. A third police officer attempted to pin the suspect’s car with his own but struck a residential garage door, causing minor damage. 

A short vehicle pursuit followed, Romero leading Police through the Irvine streets before abandoning his car and running off into a residential neighborhood in the area of Lemongrass and West Yale Loop. 

Irvine Police then set up a perimeter around the area and began an intensive search. Newport Beach and Costa Mesa K-9 units responded to requests for help in the search and a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Helicopter also participated. 

As the search continued “A woman came out of her house screaming,” Handfield said. “She was frantic.” 

The woman said that a man was in her house and that her husband had armed himself with a gun and confronted him. As officers rushed toward the house, Romero emerged and again fled but was captured shortly thereafter at approximately 4:40 a.m. 

No one was injured in the chase and Romero is being held on $1,000,000 bail. 

 

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