Auto shop employee helps police nab suspected car thief after chase ends in crash

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - An employee at a Fort Lauderdale auto shop sprang into action after a suspected car thief trying to flee from police crashed right outside of the business, helping officers catch the subject.

Carlos Sandi, who served in the military, has a concealed weapons permit and has undergone extensive firearm training. That background helped the good Samaritan, Saturday morning.

“They came coming around, screaming around that corner and crashed right here,” he said as he described the moment of impact outside of SoFlo Jeeps on Broward Boulevard.

Sandi, an employee at the auto shop, said he was helping customers when he heard the chase.

“We started hearing sirens and then some squealing tires,” he said.

Surveillance cameras captured the chaotic pursuit and crash.

“It was loud. It was very loud. A lot of squealing tires,” said Sandi.

Sandi said he brandished his gun and sprinted toward one of the subjects who was running from police.

“I pulled out my firearm and told him, ‘You need to stop and get on the ground and not move,'” he said.

The security footage shows the suspected car thief freeze.

“He stopped dead in his tracks,” said Sandi.

The footage shows Sandi pointing his gun at one of the crooks and ordering him to the ground.

“I got him on the ground, and then I zip-tied his hands behind his back,” said Sandi.

Officers caught up shortly after and handcuffed the subject.

Sandi said the other occupants in the vehicle fled, but police were able to apprehend all of them.

“One guy took off down the street, and then one guy came running towards the parking lot,” he said.

Sandi said he has a lifetime of training with firearms.

“I’m a veteran. I’ve been carrying firearms for a long time, and it’s a natural thing for me,” he said.

The good Samaritan said he knew exactly what to do — protect the patrons — never once fearing for his own life.

“Honestly, the thought didn’t cross my mind,” he said. “We had small children on the lot. We had customers on the lot, so for me, it wasn’t a question. I just acted.”

A 16-year-old was arrested and faces charges connected to the incident.

Police do not recommend ever stepping into action like Sandi did. Nevertheless, officers at the scene told him they were thankful for his quick response.

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