Teens Steal Landscaping Truck, Arrested After Crash

The three young men were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and gang participation.

Parents picking up their children from Landmark Elementary School got startled Monday afternoon when a police chase ended not far from the school.

Three young men allegedly stole a landscaping truck and got into a hit-and-run crash before they were stopped by police officers on Ohlone Parkway near Kingfisher Drive, according to Watsonville police.

Augustine Miramondes, 19, and Ronald Saldivar and Ernesto Murillo, both 18, were arrested on suspicion of car theft and gang particiation. The driver, Miramondes, also was booked on suspicion of hit and run, police said.

The incident began just after 2 p.m. when cops were called to a hit-and-run crash on Freedom Boulevard near Stanford Avenue. An officer followed the vehicle suspected of fleeing the collision. The chase went past Clifford Avenue and Main Street and onto Ohlone, police said.

The truck was stopped at Kingfisher just as the owner of the truck called 9-1-1 to report it stolen, police said.

Officers, including a parking control officer, converged on the area to detain the men.

One Watsonville Patch reader reported via the Patch Facebook page: "I just picked my kids up from school, and turned out of the parking lot to see about 6 cops cars, 1 motorcycle cop, parking enforcement, and 3 guys sitting on the ground, here on Ohlone Parkway. As I get to the light, they block off the road and 2 more cops cars go toward the commotion."

The men were booked into County Jail.

David H. Perez August 28, 2012 at 06:17 AM
So, these so-called "men" stole a landscape truck which likely belonged to an honest person who was probably working long hours to barely make a living. Nice. More of the same BS that is being perpetrated by these morally bankrupt gangster pukes! Then the incident inconvenienced parents who were picking up their kids from school, not to mention the grief the hit-and-run victim(s) will have to go through (I was a hit-and-run victim, so I know). Then factor in the tax money that is being spent for their arrest, the investigation, and whatever happens afterwards, which probably includes a release from jail since we do not want to incarcerate these poor teens who might find negative influences in jail. And whose parents popped out kids like a Pez dispenser without considering the personal and financial resources it might take to raise them properly.
Sara Chairez August 28, 2012 at 07:20 AM
One of these "men" has had deceased parents for most of his life. Never had strong role models, not fault of his own. I understand partly where you're coming from, but until you know the circumstances in which some these kids were raised, who are you to judge? Children are not "popped out", it hurts like hell to deliver a baby. How dare you! These kids need rehabilitation, support and a chance to learn about life outside of gangs. That takes support.
randy August 28, 2012 at 08:45 AM
KIDS.. these are young men that at 18 and 19 should know the difference between right and wrong. SO, my son was raised by a single parent (me). he has three college degrees and is a very successful person. I am sorry that one of the men lost his parents but he cannot go through life commiting crime just to compensate for the lose. Others have lost parents and haven't resorted to such viciousness. Rehabilitation at that age ??? Rehabilitation should have begun way before this. If you done the crime, do the time. David, PEZ DISPENSER . good one. I know what you mean. If it hurts so bad why deliver one every year? We have overcrowding as it is. Randy has left the building.
charlie rose August 28, 2012 at 09:51 AM
WOW, that is great, both David and Randy, let me guess both of you guys made all the right decisions at that age and were perfect in the rest of your lives that's why you two "gentlemen" and I use that word loosely, are sptting in a chair in front of a courtroom handing down sentences to these youths thats right youths, that werenot born with a silver spoon in their mouth like some of you who are quick to pass judgement and forget about the stuff we all did at that adolescent age, that's why its called adolescents, leave the judging of people to god and to the judicial system, maybe just maybe this will be the scare that these kids not men age does not make you a man lifes experiences does that for you along with some mentoring and most important of all education, need. There are no words to describe the feeling you get when you help transform the life of these youth to do something positive with life and not waste it doing stupid things for the rest of their lives, it is better to transform the life of somebody rather than to condemn it. I commend you Randy on your accomplishment should I say your sons accomplishment, that is what these kids lack what you were able to give to your son love and support, wouldn't it be a better world if all kids had what your son had growing up did.
David H. Perez August 28, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Part 1 of 2 @Sara Chairez and charlie rose - Here we go again. The bleeding hearts are out in force again defending and making excuses for these sociopaths who have no ambition but to prey on other people. Me judgemental?? Damn right I am judgemental. I am sick to death of the crime around here, and I refuse to hold hands and sing Kumbaya with these criminals! And excuse me Charlie, when you refer to the actions of these thugs as "stuff we all did at that adolescent age," maybe you were a car thief, but I certainly wasn't. At ages 18 and 19, I was attending a university on money I earned doing manual labor and through student loans which took me years to work and pay off. And no, I was not nor was I born with a silver spoon in my mouth. And I know plenty of people who have had a hard life and who are not thugs. There seem to be all kinds of writers on the Patch who are quick to jump in and advocate for the criminals, but who is advocating for the victims of these crimes? I'm assuming the owner of the landscape truck depends on his/her truck and equipment for their livelihood. Now that the truck has been damaged, how is this person going to make a living? Hopefully they have more than one truck. If not, are the same people who hold a car wash to earn money for funeral expenses every time a gangster is killed going to do the same thing to help this landscaper and other honest victims, whose lives are ruined by these thugs, recover their losses?
David H. Perez August 28, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Part 2 of 2 My wife and I were victims of a crime several years ago (actually, the 18-year-old offender was charged with several crimes). Our tax money gave him a free ride all the way, from a public defender at no charge to a very expensive court interpreter since the guy couldn't speak English. I also found out he was living in low-income housing. As a victim of a loss of over $30,000.00, I knew I would never get blood out of a turnip, so to speak, but I did attend every single court proceeding from arraignment to sentencing so this guy had to look me in the face the whole time. This was also a lot of time off from work that I couldn't afford, but I didn't want this guy just to skate. Though I was not initially asked for it, I provided oral and written statements to the court as well as an album of photos depicting all of the damage. I was happy that the judge gave the criminal the sentence I asked for verbatim. But even after my insurance company handled it, I was still stuck with damage to my property and had to come up with $4,000.00 out of my own pocket. No matter how a case turns out, crime victims always take it in the shorts. Gee, it sure would have been nice to have someone advocating for me, an innocent victim, the way Ms. Chairez and Mr. Rose advocate for the thugs.
randy August 28, 2012 at 03:48 PM
BRAVO DAVID. When I read that 13 yr olds are killing each other... joining gangs,, etc, When I have had two people very close to our family murdered by a 15 yr old And then I hear these fiddle players wanting sympathy for three MEN that knew what they were doing and knew the consequences of their actions, I think they should be treated as adults. If they want to straighten their life out, good, but don't go costing other innocent people that work hard for a living thousands just for the hell of it. Randy is taking a break
Don Eggleston August 28, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I worked with kids like these for 20 years in Watsonville, most recently at New School, next to Landmark. I believe that the juvenile justice system in Santa Cruz (it is much tougher in Monterey County) is much too lenient. A probation officer friend used to say "Most people need to feel the heat before they can see the light." Juveniles need serious (but not long-term) penalties for crime. HOWEVER, I also understand that the roots of antisocial behavior start at home and are reinforced in our community. Most of the gang kids I worked with were victims of domestic violence. Our community has an obligation to protect innocent children. Too often, children learn violence at home, their streets are controlled by gangs and drug dealers (the reason that informants won't come forward), and even schools allow gang pressures to force them to affiliate. (To be fair, state law handcuffs schools.) In other words, juveniles need to be held more accountable, but we must also recognize that they are products of our environment and we must get serious about stopping domestic violence, regaining control of poor neighborhoods from gangs and drug dealers, and having zero tolerance for gangs in our schools. These children were born innocent. They are products of their families AND our community, which includes our lenient juvenile justice system, our gang-controlled neighborhoods, and our gang-tolerant schools. Don Eggleston
Angela Elmore- Gallardo August 28, 2012 at 05:44 PM
There are MANY of us that did not have good childhoods - My mother was murdered and my father was in prison! Then my dad died of a heart attack... AND as a teen I floundered all over the place.. With no role model! My sister nor I turned out to be drug addicts, alcoholics, or gangster - or in any trouble with the law. I have since raised my own daughter who is in college full time and also works part time. There comes a time in life, where you say, "just because I was raised that way, doesn't mean I need to be that way." I understand that when we are children we really don't have a choice, but as we grow up we do and can lead a better path. Afterall, it's now up to us!
Don Eggleston August 28, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Angela: I totally agree with you. To reiterate, I believe that juveniles need much more severe punishment than they get here in Santa Cruz AND that innocent children should not be beaten and abused, that ALL neighborhoods should be safe for children (and everyone else), and that regular public schools should not be required to educate kids that claim gang membership. Where do we disagree? Don
Cathy P. August 28, 2012 at 07:07 PM
@charlie rose: the point being made is that every person has choices, it has nothing to do with silver spoons or being perfect. Yes, having supportive parents (or at least someone) looking out for your best interests, along with access to a good education and all the other opportunities that make life less challenging helps, but "normal" adolescence does not include stealing cars, drive byes, burglary, robbery, or whatever, and if you choose these things you will be judged within the judicial system - it's called consequences!
Cathy P. August 28, 2012 at 07:09 PM
@Angela: well said. Proof positive that we create our own destinies.
sabryeena August 28, 2012 at 08:39 PM
@david The article states that these men are 18 and over. That means the parents have no control because they are now considered adults. I also know one of the men that were arrested and i know the parents. The parents are very good parents and do the best that they can for there son. you also said how you waste taxes, well the parents are also taxes payers and homeowners. Its Not the parents that are at fault and may i remind you i am NOT making excuses for the men that were arrested. thank you
David H. Perez August 28, 2012 at 10:45 PM
@sabryeena - I never said that I thought the actions of these young men were the fault of their parents. These men are adults and will be required to stand accountable and liable for their own actions, as they should be. What I wonder about, though, is why the man you know was not going to school and working to better himself instead of hanging out with a bunch of losers committing crimes - especially if he had such good parents who taught him good values.
David H. Perez August 29, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Clarissa, this IS my own damned business when this kind of crime is being committed in the community I live in. Next time it could be my property or my neighbor's that gets stolen or vandalized by these type of punks. By the way, if you want anyone to take your comments seriously, you might do well to learn to write and use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Cathy P. August 29, 2012 at 03:19 PM
@Clarissa: so, according to your way of thinking, everyone is entitled to their own opinions only if those opinions are positive, correct? Sorry, the rest of your "opinion" isn't understandable, want to try again (?)
Mageztyp August 29, 2012 at 03:36 PM
@Don. I agree with you.
Paul G.. December 13, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Wow, you really like to stick up for the gang members don't ya?


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