The pursuit started when Kmart workers chased Steven Northcutt, a suspected shoplifter, into the parking lot at about 4:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Scotts Valley Police Department.
Northcutt ran to the driver’s seat of his Nissan Sentra, where his girlfriend and a friend were waiting, but he was hailed by a Scotts Valley police officer, police said. As the officer walked up to the car, Northcutt hit the gas and fled west on Mount Hermon Road.
The officer lost sight of the car before finding it empty in the middle of Ryder Road. All three people were found hiding in the woods nearby and were arrested, police said.
Northcutt, a 29-year-old parolee from San Jose, is suspected of stealing a sex toy and two packs of T-shirts from Kmart. He was arrested on suspicion of felony evasion, commercial burglary, conspiracy and a parole hold, according to police.
Northcutt’s girlfriend, Amber Yarnell, 19, a San Jose resident on probation, is suspected of stealing Playboy lingerie and was carrying a hidden knife. She was arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary, conspiracy, possession of a concealed weapon and probation violation.
Both Northcutt and Yarnell were under the influence of methamphetamine, police said.
Police say David Becerra, 22, of San Mateo County, also on probation, acted as the lookout for his friends while they were inside Kmart. He was also under the influence of methamphetamine.
Becerra turned over several shaved keys, commonly used to steal cars, that had been secreted in his underwear, police said.
He was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of narcotics, a probation violation, conspiracy and carrying burglary tools.