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Man injured after confronting suspect in failed robbery

A wild chase in Santa Maria sent one person to the hospital Friday. The suspect is believed to have been trying to steal some pretty petty stuff — pallets that are worth about five dollars each.

That suspect was caught in the act and confronted by the owner of the business, which began a five-mile chase.

The family owned-and-operated Santa Maria produce business took the attempted theft personally.

“So there was a thief who decided, in the middle of the day, to steal some pallets,” the victim’s brother Ozzie Vargas said.

Vargas says that’s when his brother, Ivan Vargas, confronted that suspect.

“He tried to get his license plate number but it didn’t work out,” Vargas said.

That’s when the suspect took off in a white Chevy Trailblazer.

“My brother decided to chase him. I told him, ‘that’s fine, no worries. Just take down his license plate number so the cops can handle everything, you know. I don’t want you getting hurt,'” Vargas said.

That’s when Vargas’ brother chased the man towards Guadalupe for about five miles.

“He chased him all the way out here apparently and this is what happened,” Vargas said.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says Vargas’ brother chased the thief all the way to Bonita School Road. They hit traffic and Vargas’ brother ended up veering off into an embankment to avoid a crash.

He then got out of his truck and confronted the suspect. The man then hit the gas, with Vargas’ brother still holding onto the car, reaching speeds of over 50 miles-per-hour. Vargas’ brother was able to bash out two windows before eventually falling off the SUV.

“I got here, my brother was on the ambulance. I hope he’s doing better and I hope they catch the thief,” Vargas said.

His brother is expected to be ok. Police are still looking for that suspect. He’s described as a Hispanic man in his mid-30’s.

“He must be on dope for him to be stealing 10 dollars worth of property, in the middle of the day. You know, who does that,” Vargas said.

Vargas says they call his brother “Ivan the Terrible.”

“He can have a pretty bad temper, but you know, when you mess with him… you don’t want to mess with him,” Vargas said.

The suspect was driving a white, mid 2000’s model Chevy Trailblazer. It now has two broken windows, the front driver side window and the back hatchback window.

The victim, Ivan Vargas, has since been released from the hospital according to a family member – with minor facial bruising.

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