SACRAMENTO—A new haircut and wardrobe change was not enough to disguise a suspect trying to evade officers. Sacramento Police say an 18-year-old man took off running on Monday afternoon, May 26, at approximately 3:15 p.m. after they approached him and a woman along Del Paso Boulevard, north of El Camino Avenue in Sacramento.
The teen, identified as Justin Berger, allegedly threw a gun into a backyard of a home in the 2500 block of Erickson Street in North Sacramento and began jumping fences. Officers set up a perimeter in the neighborhood and used air and K9 units to search for him. Several homes were evacuated during the search.
Police say they believe Berger hid inside a home where he was allegedly helped by a friend, Valente Ortega, 32. He had changed his clothes and cut his hair before trying to escape. He was spotted by a police helicopter on the side of a house on the 900 block of Frienza Avenue. There, officers found Berger hiding in a trash can, but with his new look.
Berger was arrested on suspicion of evading arrest, having a concealed firearm, carrying a loaded firearm registered to another individual and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Ortega was arrested for assisting Berger and the woman Berger was with earlier in the day, Lisa Colleen Lester, 33, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance for sale.
Lester, who was seen with Berger when she was with him on Del Paso in a parking lot, was likely conducting a narcotics sale at the time to Berger when he panicked and fled. Ms. Lester has a long history with Sacramento law enforcement, going back to at least 2005 when she was arrested for vandalism and throwing something at a vehicle. That was followed in 2006 with an arrest for vehicle theft and possession of stolen property and drug paraphernalia. In 2009 she was charged with a number of vehicle code violations along with possession of a stolen vehicle. 2011 saw a marijuana possession charge, and in October last year she was charged with possession of narcotics for sale and battery with injury.