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Marin pursuit thwarts Sonoma auto theft suspect

A man suspected of stealing a car in the city of Sonoma was arrested after a chase into Novato and San Rafael, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.

The vehicle theft was reported Saturday, and a deputy spotted the car and suspect a short time later. Deputies chased the suspect into Novato but called off the pursuit because of “the suspect’s increasingly reckless driving behavior,” the department said.

“This included the suspect driving southbound on the shoulder of northbound Highway 101,” the department said.

A Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office helicopter crew tracked the suspect into San Rafael, where he headed the wrong way on a Highway 101 onramp and entered the commercial area off Smith Ranch Road.

The vehicle’s tires were flattened by a spike strip a Marin County deputy had placed in a street. The suspect tried to run but Marin deputies and police arrested him in the parking off Redwood Highway.

Andrew William Muzinich, 28, of Sonoma was booked on suspicion of vehicle theft, robbery, reckless evasion, evading authorities by driving the wrong way, possession of stolen property, criminal threats and elder endangerment, said Sonoma County sheriff’s Lt. Tim Duke.

The robbery count stems from alleged threats Muzinich made to harm the victim, a senior, if he did not surrender the vehicle, Duke said. He said the suspect and the victim know one another.

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