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After almost being run over, clerk helps nab shoplifting suspect


Published: December 31, 2010

AN OAKLAND man with a long rap sheet for theft spent Christmas Eve in Carmel shoplifting — until he made the poor decision to try to rip off a clothing store where clerks have a strong record of catching thieves — according to Carmel P.D. Sgt. Paul Tomasi. As a result, 44-year-old Cartier White, who also allegedly tried to run down one of the employees with his car, ended up going to jail.

“Apparently, he decided to go into Paloosh, and they were occupied in the back with customers,” Tomasi said of the trendy, pricey Ocean Avenue clothing store. “And when they walked out, they noticed he was holding something under his arm.”

But when White apparently noticed he had caught their attention, he left the store in a hurry.

“They could see hangers sticking out from under his arm,” he said. “One clerk called 911, while the other followed him down San Carlos Street.”

But she lost sight of him when he got into a vehicle. Around that time, Tomasi and Cpl. Steve Rana drove up in separate patrol cars, and as she walked to meet them at the corner of San Carlos and Seventh, a car intentionally “almost barreled into her,” Tomasi said. “She had to dive in front of the patrol car to get out of the way, and she got up, screaming, ‘That’s the guy!’”

The officers set off in pursuit of White, who ignored their lights, sirens and orders to pull over but continued to obey the traffic laws, according to Tomasi.

“He wasn’t driving recklessly,” he said. “In my mind, he didn’t know what to do.”

At Guadalupe Street and Ocean Avenue, Rana and Tomasi managed to block White in, and with guns drawn, they approached his door, opened it, unhooked the driver’s seat belt and got him out of the Ford Fiesta rental car. He did not put up a fight. But White then complained of chest pains, so an ambulance responded and took him to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Officers remained with the suspect until they were relieved by private security.

Meanwhile, Tomasi had the rental car towed to the yard near the police station, where a search yielded two Paloosh dresses, worth a total $952, along with four J. Crew sweaters worth $70 apiece he had allegedly stolen earlier that day.

After undergoing tests that came back negative for any serious medical condition, White was released from the hospital at 2 a.m. Dec. 25 and taken “straight to jail,” Tomasi said. But, following normal jail procedures which allow most suspects to post bail according to a schedule for various crimes, White posted bail and was able to retrieve his rental car before Carmel officers could interview him about the alleged shoplifting and assault.

White, who reportedly has multiple past convictions for theft and shoplifting, was charged with two counts of felony burglary, felony assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor failure to yield to a police officer.

Tomasi praised Paloosh’s employees — who have chased down suspected shoplifters on more than one occasion — for helping to catch White.

“I don’t want them to get hurt, but if she hadn’t followed that guy, we wouldn’t have caught him,” he said. “We are very appreciative of help from our community. There are only a few of us, but there are a lot of them.”