3 arrested in stolen law enforcement car, possibly linked to bank robbery

- Three people were taken into custody this afternoon in San Jose's Northside neighborhood after police found them in an unmarked law enforcement car stolen out of the Santa Cruz Mountains this morning, police said.
   
The 2009 silver Chevrolet Malibu was stolen from the Redwood Estates area where Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies had been searching for a man who robbed a Bank of America branch in Scotts Valley Thursday morning.
   
The Malibu is not owned by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and was not involved in the search, sheriff's Sgt. Rich Glennon said at a news conference this afternoon.
   
The car, which has lights in the front grill and possibly the visor but did not contain a weapon or a police scanner, was assigned to a law enforcement officer who lives in the area and was parked at that officer's home when it was stolen.
   
Sheriff's officials and police have not determined whether any of the suspects arrested in San Jose today were involved in the bank robbery, but Glennon speculated that it "seems highly likely" that the bank robber stole the car.
   
At 2:15 p.m. police began following the car on East Santa Clara Street, east of Fourth Street in downtown San Jose, police Capt. Jason Dwyer said this evening.
   
Officers did not start a high-speed pursuit in order to avoid causing a safety issue in the downtown area and opted instead to confront the occupants at North Seventh and East Mission streets.
   
Police arrested two of the suspects "relatively peacefully," but the third ran into a heavily populated apartment complex, Dwyer said.
   
Over 50 police officers along with two helicopters responded to surround the complex before the suspect fled east toward North 10th Street into a construction zone and then into a nearby building.
   
Residents were told to shelter in place during the 45 minutes in which the man evaded arrest, Dwyer said.
   
In the course of arresting the man, an officer deployed a Taser stun gun, which was not effective, Dwyer said, but police were eventually able to arrest him at North 10th and East Taylor streets.
   
"In the end, we did have to use a minimal amount of force on the suspect, but it's better than a vehicle pursuit," Dwyer said. "It's better than vehicle crashes that could have resulted if we had tried to stop the car."
   
The bank at 4525 Scotts Valley Drive was robbed shortly before 10 a.m. on Thursday, according to Scotts Valley police Lt. John Wilson.
   
A Scotts Valley police officer shot at the man following a 10-minute pursuit on state Highway 17, but it was not clear whether he was hit, according to Santa Clara County sheriff's officials.
   
Highway 17 was closed in both directions until after 8 p.m. Thursday as deputies searched for the man, according to sheriff's officials.
   
Around 10 p.m. Thursday, a man believed to be the bank robber broke into a house in the Redwood Estates area and carjacked a woman at knifepoint for her minivan, Glennon said.
   
The woman called 911 immediately after he fled in the minivan, and deputies set up spike strips on Alma Bridge Road.
   
When the spike strips disabled the minivan, the suspect fled on foot in the area of Locust Drive and Aldercroft Heights Road, Glennon said.
   
Deputies and officers from the California Highway Patrol and the Los Gatos Police Department searched the area with K-9s until around 1 a.m., and deputies maintained a saturation patrol through this morning, Glennon said, until they learned that the Malibu had been stolen.

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