Crime Lines: Car thief shot while trying to run over officers

Richard Sylvester Garica, 36, drove a stolen car at officers who fired at the car in the Visalia Mall parking lot


VISALIA – A Visalia car thief is lucky to be alive, and so are the officers that shot at him after he tried to run them over with a stolen car.

Richard Sylvester Garcia
36 years old

At 4:45 p.m. at the Visalia Mall, officers with VPD’s Special Enforcement Unit received information of an armed subject driving a stolen vehicle. Officers set up surveillance in the area and observed the man, later identified as 36-year-old Richard Sylvester Garcia, exiting the north entrance of JCPenny with what appeared to be a firearm in his waistband. Before officers could contact Garcia, he got into a white sedan parked on the north side of the parking lot on Walnut Avenue. When officers ordered him to exit the car, he refused, put the car in reverse and accelerated toward two officers. Both officers feared for their safety and fired several rounds at the car. Garcia drove the car out of the parking lot by jumping the north curb and then turned eastbound and then southbound back into the parking lot towards additional officers who also fired several rounds. The vehicle came to a stop in the north parking lot where Garcia was removed from the car and arrested. Officers found a firearm in his waistband. Medical aid was rendered by officers on the scene and Garcia was transported to an area hospital for treatment. He was later booked on two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department took over the assault investigation against Visalia officers.

Visalia Police Log

Thursday, Jan. 10
A Visalia burglar who specialized in cracking open or stealing safes was caught last week after breaking into 13 businesses in four cities between November and January. While investigating the commercial burglaries in Visalia, detectives with the Property Crimes Unit realized the same suspect was committing all of the crimes because they had similar modus operandi. The suspect would enter the business in the early morning hours prior to employees arriving for the day and flee before police were contacted by alarm companies. Most of the burglaries were at restaurants where the suspect would enter and take or force entry into the business’s safes. When they reached out to Farmersville, Exeter and Tulare VPD was able to identify the suspect as 38-year-old Michael Bradsteen of Exeter. Detectives located Bradsteen in the 1400 block of E. Ferguson in Visalia and he was taken into custody. With the assistance of the Exeter Police Department, detectives served a search warrant at Bradsteen’s Exeter home. Evidence was found linking Bradsteen to the crimes. He was booked into Tulare County Jail on 13 counts of burglary and 1 count of auto-theft. The investigation is continuing to link the suspect to additional burglaries and to identify any additional suspects. Any-one with information regarding this string of burglaries is encouraged to call Detective McEwen at 559-713-4101.
Tuesday, Jan. 8
At 8:40 a.m. in the 600 block of W. Walnut, officers with the narcotics unit, along with the anti gang units, served a search warrant at a residence. During the search, officers seized 1.9 grams of methamphetamine and also indicia indicative of sales of narcotics. Patricia Galindo, 39, was arrested and booked into the Tulare County Pre-trial Facility for possession of methamphetamine for sales. Wade Allen Goldsmith, 53, was cited out at the scene for possession of methamphetamine.
Wednesday, Jan. 9
At 11:18 p.m. near Chinowth Street and Noble Avenue, officers received a report of a strong-armed robbery which had just occurred. A woman reported that two males had confronted and began to harass her as she was organizing her belongings. She said the men assaulted her and took her property. During the investigation, officers located two subjects who matched the description in the 4500 block of W. Noble. After being identified by the victim, officers arrested 25-year-old Matthew Flenory and 21-year-old Kruz Bass, who had the woman’s stolen property. The suspects were booked into the Tulare County Adult Pre-trial Facility for robbery.
Saturday, Jan. 12
At 1:33 p.m. in the 2000 block of W. Delta Ave., officers responded to a vehicle that drove into a residence. Upon arrival, officers discovered that 20-year-old Lonell Goodman was driving southbound Vickie St. approaching Delta when his vehicle left the roadway and crashed into a house. The home was occupied at the time of the collision by adults and juveniles, none of whom were injured. Goodman was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and was arrested. He was booked at the Tulare County Pre-Trial Facility for driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, and child endangerment.
At 10:39 p.m., officers received a report of three subjects loading property into the bed of a pick-up truck behind Tulare County Escrow, which was closed. As officers were arriving on scene, the vehicle left and was stopped by patrol officers. Officers determined that the lock to a storage shed at the business had been cut off and a computer, escrow paperwork, and other misc. items were taken from the shed. All of the items were located in the bed of the truck that officers stopped. Arrested were 38-year-old Kabarega Frazier, 44-year-old Martin Morales, and 31-year-old Juan Martinez, Jr. The property was returned to the owner and the three listed suspects were arrested and charged with commercial burglary.
Sunday, Jan. 13
At 12:28 a.m. in the 4100 block of W. Nellis, officers interrupted a residential burglary in progress. One 16-year-old suspect was arrested as he tried to flee from the residence with the victim’s property. A second suspect was able to escape capture. The Juvenile suspect was booked at the Juvenile Detention Facility for residential burglary and possession of stolen property. The case has been forwarded to Property Crimes detectives for further follow-up.
At 1:26 a.m., officers were dispatched to Main/Church in regards to a possible shooting that had just occurred. Upon arrival, officers determined that an unknown suspect had fired shots at the victim following a fight. Both the victims and suspects fled the scene prior to police arrival. One round was found to have gone through a window at Bank of the Sierra, which was closed at the time. As of now, no injuries have been reported to police. The investigation is on-going and the case has been forwarded to the Violent Crimes Unit for follow-up. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Anonymous Tip Line at 559-713-4738.
At 1:07 a.m., officers were dispatched to Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market, 1320 N. Demaree St., in regards to a commercial burglary. Officers found that the front glass door had been smashed and entry to the business was made; however, the suspect fled the scene prior to officer’s arrival. Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the Visalia Police Department Tip Line at 713-4738.
Monday, Jan. 14
At 1:13 a.m., officers were dispatched to an audible burglar alarm at Chinowth Git & Go. Upon arrival, officers located 23-year-old Robert Zulim attempting to force entry into the back door of the business. Zulim was arrested and later booked at the Tulare County Pre-Trial facility and charged with attempted commercial burglary.

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