FRESNO, Calif. — An unusual Save Mart shopper dropped into a California location on Saturday, two days after fleeing gunfire from an off-duty Fresno County sheriff’s deputy and taking refuge in the store.
According to The Fresno Bee, 28-year-old Pheng Vang was wanted on suspicion of an unsolved burglary in which guns were stolen. He reportedly barricaded himself inside the store, prompting a 20-hour standoff with police, before the search was called off Friday.
On Saturday afternoon, however, Vang fell through the store’s ceiling, ran out an emergency exit and was apprehended a short while later in a nearby apartment complex, the newspaper reported.
“In custody!” Fresno Chief of Police Paco Balderrama tweeted Saturday afternoon.
“Although SWAT was pulled back, we went w/ (sic) Plan B, leaving undercover officers in place and marked units in the area. Guess who just popped out of the ceiling?” he added.
Meanwhile, a KFSN-TV editor was shopping at the store when Vang made his grand entrance and described him as being “covered with dirt as he walked through the produce section, grabbed an apple, and walked out of the door,” the TV station reported.
Lt. Mark Hudson, with the Fresno Police Department, confirmed to The Fresno Bee that Vang faces charges of felony reckless evading and a parole violation, but he confirmed that additional charges could be added.
“We always prepare for contingencies,” Hudson told the newspaper. “It’s a big store. Could’ve been hiding in a lot of places. Fortunately, the end of the story is that he has been taken into custody and there’s no danger to the public.”
Police also stated that they do not believe that Vang was armed and confirmed that no weapon was found at either the Save Mart or the apartment complex, KFSN reported.
According to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Vang was one of three people observed by the off-duty sheriff’s deputy entering a car in a shopping center parking lot that matched a description of a vehicle involved in a home burglary in which guns were stolen, according to The Fresno Bee.
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