Clearlake Police: Stolen vehicle suspect spray painted car to avoid attention
PHOTOS: Clearlake Police Department
CLEARLAKE — A Lake County man was arrested after an officer spotted him driving an obviously spray painted car and suspected the vehicle had been stolen, police say.
The officer had been driving on Lakeshore Drive on the morning of July 31st when the car ahead of him caught his eye; it appeared to be a 90’s-era Honda that had been spray painted black, a common technique used by car thieves to make the vehicle less recognizable.
A license plate check also revealed that the plate belonged to an Acura rather than a Honda.
The officer followed the vehicle to an El Grande parking lot and flicked on his lights, which the driver appeared to ignore. The officer honked a few times and the driver, later identified as 48-year-old Johnny Ware, stopped the car.
When the officer approached, Ware reportedly started to pull away while cursing at him out the driver’s side window. This led to a pursuit through traffic on Lakeshore Drive toward Old Highway 53.
Another officer joined the pursuit, keeping on Ware’s tail as he reportedly crossed both lanes of traffic, nearly striking several other vehicles and prompting an older man walking his dog to dive out of the way.
Ware soon turned onto Kett Avenue, where he lost control of the car and spun out near Putnam Lane.
Unsurprisingly, the vehicle Ware had been driving turned out to be stolen. Officers searched the vehicle and also discovered about 42 grams of meth, 41 hypodermic syringes, and a glass smoking pipe.
Ware has since been booked into the Lake County Jail on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle, fleeing from officers in a vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for public safety, methamphetamine sales, and possession of paraphernalia.
Police say he also had outstanding warrants from multiple other police agencies.