Manhunt: Break-in suspect caught after pursuit through Nevada City
A man suspected of robbing an Alta Sierra resident at gunpoint in a home invasion Tuesday night was arrested Thursday after a five-hour manhunt in Nevada City.
Terry Pettigrew, 22, is suspected of leading Nevada County sheriff’s deputies and Nevada City police on a short pursuit through downtown Nevada City Thursday morning before crashing a blue 1980s Chevrolet Camaro on Bridge Street near Deer Creek. After the crash, Pettigrew reportedly ran across the creek and away from authorities.
During part of the search, some Nevada City-area schools locked their doors, though the lock-downs were lifted around 1 p.m.
The sheriff’s office was tipped off about Pettigrew by his mother, who said the suspect was staying at the National Hotel, said Richard R. Mayer, the victim of Tuesday’s violent home invasion.
Investigators began monitoring Pettigrew’s hotel room around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
Detectives waited until Pettigrew got into his car around 10:15 a.m. before attempting an arrest.
“They weren’t sure it was him, but they felt comfortable that was the right car,” Sheriff Keith Royal said.
A Nevada City police cruiser began to follow the Camaro and stopped it at Bonanza Market on Broad Street at 10:19 a.m.
“He was complying for a short time, then he backed out and took off,” Sheriff’s Lt. Tom Carrington said.
Royal said the Camaro hit the Nevada City police cruiser as the suspect tried to escape, probably because authorities had begun to surround him.
Nevada City police and sheriff’s deputies began a pursuit. Pettigrew reportedly drove down Bridge Street, which dead-ended at Deer Creek. The Camaro crashed near the creek, and the suspect got out of the car and ran across the creek around 10:30 a.m., property owners Jim and Ginny Knott said.
Sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter in the general area, and bloodhounds were brought in to track Pettigrew.
At about 3 p.m., Nevada City police received a call from a resident on Nile Street who said someone fitting Pettigrew’s description had knocked on the door asking for help, according to a statement by the sheriff today. Plain-clothes officers arrived in the area and spotted the suspect behind a Chevron gas station on Sacramento street.
Pettigrew reportedly tried to run but was blocked by a sheriff’s cruiser. He was taken into custody after a short struggle, Royal said.
Pettigrew is one of the two men suspected of entering the home of Mayer, 49, Tuesday night, hitting him in the head with a golf club and robbing him at gunpoint. They reportedly stole a jar of coins and casino chips.
Mayer said Pettigrew was a former employee of his and probably targeted him because he knew Mayer had money.
Carrington said authorities believe they know who the second suspect is, but a name had not been released late Thursday.
“Our team is working with dogged determination (to solve the case),” he said.
Royal said Pettigrew was found with coins and other evidence, possibly putting him at Tuesday’s crime scene.
There is also evidence that might connect Pettigrew to a Jan. 8 home invasion, where a 52-year-old woman was hit over the head with a flashlight by an intruder in her North Ponderosa Way home, Royal said.
When Mayer learned of Pettigrew’s arrest, he said he was glad the suspect was apprehended.
“I wish I could get a golf club and hit him a few times,” Mayer said. “He is ruthless.”
For more on this story, return to http://www.theunion.com throughout the day and pick up Saturday’s The Union.
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