LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A suspected car thief has died after leading police on a chase through the Long Beach area ending with a standoff when the man climbed a crane at the Port of Los Angeles. The man spent about three hours on the crane and eventually took all his clothes off around 8.p.m.
During the standoff, the man was seen walking around, waving, twitching and even doing calisthenics on the narrow ledge of the crane. A SWAT team eventually approached the man on the crane in the China Shipping Yard and tried to coax him down safely.
A couple of employees nearby got a warning of the dangerous situation unfolding.
"Someone just text me saying that there was a car chase and he's in the China terminal, so she did the right thing and told me to stay in place," port worker Liz Guardado-Nicosia said. "There's stairs that go up the crane, to the cab, where the operator is, and so this criminal was climbing up the stairs, and then somehow the operator, they got word to the operator to come back down."
At about 9:30 p.m., the man either fell or jumped to his death, landing on a container ship, police said.
The vehicle was stolen from a dealership in San Bernardino and the driver was able to get onto the port property by blowing past a security checkpoint staffed by private security, police said. The man drove recklessly around the port before scaling the 17-story crane.
The pursuit, which started before 6 p.m., reached high speeds and got extremely dangerous. The driver nearly struck many vehicles and scraped the car along the shoulder of the 110 freeway while he darted through rush-hour traffic.
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