Police: Car theft suspect released from jail, steals again


CHICO, Calif. - A stolen car chase through Chico early Tuesday, ended with the suspect being arrested in Big Chico Creek in Bidwell Park.

Transient Michael Murray, 38, was arrested at 4:45 a.m. Police said he had been arrested for another car theft last week, but was released due to jail overcrowding. According to a news release from Chico Police, they initially responded at 3:59 a.m. Tuesday to a report of a stolen vehicle in the 1200 block of N. Cedar Street. The victim told police she was visiting a friend in the area. When she returned to where she had parked her car, she discovered it had been stolen. Officers were taking the report and interviewing the victim when they saw the vehicle drive by. Police followed the vehicle to the area of W. 6th Avenue and the Esplanade where they pulled the car over. Then the driver continued, reaching speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. The pursuit continued through the Avenues, onto Memorial Avenue and Vallombrosa Avenue, before ending at One Mile Recreation Area in Bidwell Park. Police said Murray abandoned the car and fled on foot. Officers chased Murray into Big Chico Creek and arrested him. Police said the pursuit lasted 2.1 miles and four minutes. Murray was booked into Butte County Jail for vehicle theft, evading police, committing a felony while on O.R. Release and possession of drug paraphernalia.