BELL GARDENS (CBS) — A 23-year-old man was looking for a parking spot in Bell Gardens when he found one — right between two patrol cars.
What George Martinez failed to notice was that the cop cars were parked in the middle of the street, away from the curb, as officers were inside a home on a domestic disturbance call.
“So, there they are in the middle of the street, a good car distance between them,” Lt. Brendan Kirkpatrick said.
Martinez got out, stared at the patrol cars, and then went on to rummage through the trunk of the car he had allegedly just stolen.
Meanwhile, officers were inside arrested a man for outstanding warrants and walked him out to their patrol cars.
They were stunned to see the car wedged between them.
One officer laughed and the other stood there puzzled. They ran the license plates and realized the vehicle sandwiched between their patrol cars was stolen.
“He gets parallel parking awards but that’s about it,” Kirkpatrick said while grinning.
It had all started hours earlier in Burbank when a girl was vacuuming her car at a car wash in Burbank. Police say Martinez approached the girl, pretending to have a gun in his pocket and took her car.
Martinez allegedly drove from Burbank to Bell Gardens and parked himself into a tight spot.
The two police officers said they would have never noticed the stolen car had it not been for his parking stunt.
They used the high-tech camera on their car’s dashboard and the clear audio to identify the suspect. They spotted the man within minutes.
“It’s an interesting way of wanting to be contacted, short of throwing up flares,” one officer said.
Officers said the alleged carjacker could have easily parked against the curb and would easily have gone unnoticed.