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Traffic stop yields stolen car with 14-year-old driver

by Mick Rhodes | mickrhodes@claremont-courier.com

Claremont police took part in a dramatic, guns drawn, but ultimately peaceful felony grand theft auto arrest of a 14-year-old girl, Monday evening near Mills Avenue and the 210 freeway.

The potentially explosive traffic stop drew additional officers from Upland PD and the Ontario Police Department’s helicopter unit.

Claremont cops on patrol about 9:30 p.m. near Padua Avenue and Base Line Road ran the license plate of a 2003 Ford Explorer, and it came back stolen out of Pomona earlier that day. They then stopped the SUV near Mills Ave. and the 210.

The four people in the car were “non-compliant,” and refused to get out of the car, said Claremont Police Department Lieutenant Jason Walters, and because they were dealing with a stolen vehicle, officers drew their weapons.

Upland PD and the Ontario’s police helicopter arrived shortly thereafter.

“It took some time to get them to cooperate with the officers,” Lt. Walters said. The four were eventually coaxed out of the Explorer, and that’s when officers learned the driver was a 14-year-old Montclair girl.

She was arrested for felony grand theft auto, booked, and spent some time in the Claremont jail before being released to the custody of her guardians with a citation to appear in juvenile court.

Lieutenant Walters would not say if the girl would appear in Pomona or Los Angeles court for her arraignment. The court to which her case would be assigned has to do with whether or not she has any prior convictions or was on probation at the time of her arrest. Lt. Walters said that because the accused car thief is a juvenile, he could not release that information.

The other three people in the SUV were also juveniles. They were detained in handcuffs but were ultimately not charged.  

Asked why police had their guns trained on the four kids, Lt. Walters said, “because they were in a stolen vehicle. At the point of the traffic stop of we obviously didn’t know they were juveniles.”

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