by Brad Smith
Calif. — A Rocklin police officer had his patrol cruiser rammed by a pair of alleged thieves Monday morning. The incident happened as the officer was responding to a possible vehicular burglary, Lt. Lon Milka, Rocklin Police Department, said.
“At 3:20 a.m., we received a 911 call from a witness who saw two men breaking into a parked car on the 5900 block of Tanus Circle,” Milka said. As Rocklin police officers arrived at Tanus Circle, they saw a Lexus sedan — its headlights off — ram the cruiser.
The two suspects baled out of the Lexus, then fled on foot, heading in opposite directions.
Milka said that his department received help from other law enforcement agencies in the search for the suspects.
“The Placer County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, and officers from Roseville and Lincoln police departments assisted us,” he reported. K9 units were used to track the suspects down. More than an hour and a half later, officers located the alleged driver.
“(The driver) had jumped the fences of some eight to ten backyards, attempting to evade us,” Milka said. “He had been hiding atop a parked RV.”
Milka identified the suspect as Damien Joseph Galpren, 19, whose last known address had been listed as Santa Cruz. Milka did not know if Galpren had moved to the area or was “passing through.” As for the other suspect, Milka said the search was still on-going.
“We know that the suspect is white, early 20s and might have sustained a head laceration during the collision,” Milka said. Officers found blood stains in the Lexus, on the passenger’s side and the windshield.
That was not the only thing officers discovered.
“The suspects had been very busy,” Milka said. Inside the Lexus, which had been stolen as well, officers found a number of items stolen from vehicles in the neighborhood. “The suspects had been in the neighborhood for some time, hitting at least six vehicles.”
After his arrest, Galpren had been booked into Placer County Jail in Auburn on suspicion of assault on a peace officer, car theft, receiving stolen property, drunken driving and burglary. His bail has been set at $60 thousand.
As for the officer in the collision, Milka said he had been transported to a hospital for treatment. “His injuries weren’t that bad and he’s been released.”
The officer’s name is being withheld, as per departmental regulations.
Both vehicles, Milka said, had been damaged “significantly.”
As the investigation and search continues, Milka said that anyone with information should contact the Rocklin Police Department at (916) 625-5400.