Man gets in Tesla, chases suspected car thief through streets of San Francisco

A hot pursuit through the streets of San Francisco, caught on the cameras of a coffee-shop owner's Tesla as he chased a suspected car thief.

There were U-turns, swerves and red-light running.

"I just wanted to get her car back right away," said Rich Lee, owner of SPRO Coffee Lab in the Mission Bay neighborhood.

Lee found himself chasing a woman who hopped into his co-worker's Honda CR-V.

"A girl had run over there, closed the trunk and jumped into her car and just took off," Lee said.

It all began at about 6:30 a.m. Monday.

Angelica Rabino was dropping off pastries at Lee's business near 4th and Mission Bay Blvd. North when a woman stole Rabino's SUV.

"In my mind, I was thinking like, 'That can't be my car, this can't be happening right now,' " Rabino said.

Rabino frantically told Lee what had happened. He jumped into his Tesla Model Y, which comes with video cameras.

He caught up to her near 7th and Brannan in the South of Market. 

He kept his distance at first, not wanting to spook her. But soon she realized he was following her.

"She started driving erratically," Lee said. "She ended up doing a lot of U-turns, and I had to take the same U-turns and obviously that made her drive even faster."

At one point, a police made a turn in front of the suspect, prompting her to quickly veer off.

Lee had already called 911. Dispatchers warned him that it might not be safe for him to follow, but he said he was OK. 

"Honestly, I was too deep in the game," Lee said. "I was already chasing her for maybe seven to eight minutes at that time."

They passed the Caltrain yard and ended up on King Street, running a red light right in front of Oracle Park. 

And along the Embarcadero, the woman suddenly stopped, got out of the CR-V and nonchalantly walks away.

Lee kept dispatchers updated. And soon, the takedown. Police arrested 26-year-old Vona Marie George. They arrested her on suspicion of auto theft, possession of stolen property and an outstanding warrant - for auto theft.

Lee and the officers exchanged fist-bumps. But he doesn't see himself as a hero.

"If it makes me a hero, it's a little sad because I feel like everyone should be doing that, right? Everyone should be trying to stop this," Lee said.