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Friday Morning Bus Pursuit Ends In Arrest
AC Transit road supervisor Allen Perry, center in white, discusses the stolen bus case and provides some information to lead investigator Gustavo Arellano, right, of the Stockton CHP. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

A 29-year-old San Francisco man, identified by CHP as Justin Moss, was booked at San Joaquin County Jail on suspicion of vehicle theft, evading an officer and receipt of stolen property in connection with the theft of an AC Transit bus on Friday.

Moss was taken into custody just before 10:30 a.m. about three miles west of Oakdale along Highway 120, where the bus came to a stop near Cleveland Avenue after running over a spike strip in Escalon.

According to the CHP report, Stockton California Highway Patrol Officers received a be on the lookout for a stolen AC Transit bus out of San Francisco about 9:45 a.m. on July 19.

Officers responded to the area, said CHP Public Information Officer James Smith, and located the vehicle on SR-120 eastbound near SR-99. Due to safety concerns for the construction workers in the area, officers waited to initiate an enforcement stop on the vehicle as it traveled on SR-99 northbound.

Smith said the bus exited Highway 99 at French Camp Road and officers attempted to stop it, but the vehicle did not yield.

Officer Gustavo Arellano, the lead investigator in the case, said the pursuit continued eastbound along Highway 120.

Arellano said the stolen bus was not speeding, going roughly an average of 55 to 60 mph during the pursuit, which started outside Manteca, went through Escalon and ended near Oakdale.

“We had multiple units in pursuit, all CHP, put down the spike strip in Escalon,” Arellano added.

When the bus could not go any further, due to the extensive tire damage on one side, it pulled over off Highway 120 near the intersection with Cleveland Avenue about three miles west of Oakdale.

“When he pulled over, he was compliant,” Arellano said of the suspect offering no resistance.

A felony traffic stop was enacted, with pursuing officers taking the suspect into custody at gunpoint. There were no weapons found on the bus and no injuries to anyone involved.

The pursuit was approximately 19 miles and lasted for about 20 minutes, said the CHP report.

Allen Perry, a road supervisor with AC Transit who lives in Tracy and was on his morning off, was near his home headed to an auto parts store when he heard the report about the stolen bus and within just a couple of minutes, spotted it on the highway.

“It was stolen out of the temporary terminal in San Francisco off Folsom,” Perry said of the 2003 Belgium-built 40-foot long bus. “It was reported to the SFPD at about 9:40 a.m.”

The bus had been in service for the early morning commute, then parked at the terminal and put on standby status to fill in where needed. It was going to be towed back to San Francisco, due for repairs and a safety check before being put back in service.