Theft suspects captured after pursuit between Mt. Shasta and Yreka

SISKIYOU COUNTY, Calif. – Two men were arrested after a theft and pursuit in Siskiyou County.

Police said in the early morning hours of Monday, January 3, a person told officers over $1,000-worth of belongings were stolen from inside a vehicle in the City of Mt. Shasta. The victim didn’t know the two suspects but was able to give police a description of their vehicle.

Shortly thereafter, the vehicle was spotted by an officer on Mt. Shasta Boulevard. The officer tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver didn’t stop and continued on Highway 89 toward McCloud. The driver then turned the vehicle around and headed back toward town at speeds over 100 miles per hour. Due to winter conditions, the officer backed off.

After losing sight of the vehicle, police saw it again on Highway 97 headed toward A12.

Police restarted the pursuit, which was in better weather conditions with no other traffic on the roadway. The chase continued into Yreka, where the driver reportedly tried to run officers off the road. Eventually, the suspect broke through a fence and tried to drive up a steep embankment so he could get onto Interstate 5. That’s where the pursuit finally came to an end.

The officers ordered the occupants out at gunpoint and took them into custody. The driver was identified as 24-year-old Austin Eugene Hampton and the passenger was identified as 20-year-old Blake Jeffery Gehrig.

It turned out the vehicle was stolen out of Oregon the day before the chase.

Hampton was arrested for vehicle theft, evading an officer, assault on an officer with a deadly weapon, and grand theft. Gherig was charged with grand theft.

Mt. Shasta police said, “The MSPD is glad we were able to reunite the victim with their property. Unfortunately, many property crimes go unsolved, and if not for alert officers this early morning, we would likely have another victim of unknown suspects.”

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