INDIO, Calif. - An Indio man who allegedly crashed a car he stole at gunpoint was behind bars today, and his passenger was still at large.
George Pineda, 18, was arrested about 7:40 p.m. Thursday near Bliss Avenue and Oasis Street in Indio, where authorities responded to a single-car crash. The driver and passenger had left the scene and authorities tracked down Pineda, the alleged driver. The passenger escaped.
Authorities found evidence linking Pineda to the theft, reported about 4:45 p.m. the same day in the parking lot of Ralphs supermarket at 74884 Country Club Drive in Palm Desert, sheriff's Deputy Angel Ramos said.
A woman was walking to her car, a 2012 Nissan Altima, when two masked men approached her from behind, he said.
"One of the men brandished a handgun and demanded the victim's car keys," Ramos said. "The victim complied and the suspects fled the area in the victim's vehicle."
The woman was not hurt, Ramos said.
Pineda was booked into the county jail in Indio on suspicion of carjacking and grand theft. He was being held without bail and was expected to be arraigned Tuesday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, according to jail records.
Anyone with information on the passenger of the stolen car or anything else related to the case was asked to contact investigators at (760) 836-1600 or Coachella Valley Crime Stoppers at (760) 341-7867. Tips can be anonymous and may lead to a cash reward.