Note to ghoulish would-be criminals: don’t post evidence of your crime and a confession to Instagram.
A man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing wreckage from the Porsche Carrera GT crash that killed Fast & Furious star Paul Walker last Saturday, and another suspect is being sought by the authorities.
The remains of the sports car were loaded onto the truck and hauled away around 10 p.m. that night, nearly seven hours after the fiery crash that took the lives of Walker, 40, and friend Roger Rodas, 38. The remains of the car were being taken to an impound lot for further investigation, but the driver reported being stalked by several vehicles as he left the scene, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The thieves waited until the truck came to a red light. Then they struck.
While the truck was stopped at Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway, a busy intersection in the heart of the town of Santa Clarita, the driver witnessed a man from one of the pursuing cars jump out, run up to the wreckage, and then speed away with a section of the destroyed car.
Sheriff’s deputies announced today they had identified the suspect as 18-year-old Jameson Witty, who was arrested at his home in Tujunga, Calif., while authorities executed a search warrant.
The stolen piece of the Porsche – its T-top roof panel – was recovered by detectives at a different residence in Canyon Country, a neighborhood in northern Los Angeles County near Santa Clarita.
A second suspect in the theft, a 25-year-old who was not identified by the sheriff’s department Thursday night, was no longer in the state of California, but has been in contact with detectives and has made arrangements to surrender.
Witty was booked at Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s station on suspicion of felony grand theft and tampering with evidence, with bail set at $20,000. The department is asking the district attorney’s office to file the same charges against the other suspect.
Investigation of the collision is ongoing, the department added. Investigators believe speed was a factor in the crash, but have stated that witnesses said no other cars were involved – ruling out theories that the Fast & Furious star, who was believed to be a passenger in the Porsche, was killed in a drag race gone awry.
If the public has information about the theft of parts from the crash, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s detectives ask them to call 661-255-1121. For anonymity, tipsters can call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.