Live stream shows takedown of accused thief

Posted at 11:17 PM, May 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 10:25:47-04

A Chula Vista man live streamed the takedown of a suspected shoplifter this week, then watched while it took police more than 30 minutes to arrive on scene.

Two Office Depot employees and a bystander wrestled a man to the ground who they say tried to run out of the store with stolen items. Then they held him there for half an hour before police arrived.

I showed the video to Armida Torres, who helps study police response times in Chula Vista.

"Oh my gosh," Torres said. "I mean how were they even able to hold him down for that long?"

Torres is the chair for the Growth Management Oversight Commission, and says the poor response times proves Chula Vista needs more officers.

"They are pulled in so many different directions," she said.

Captain Lon Turner, a spokesperson for the police department, told 10News that right before the call came in units responded to three other calls: the suspicious death of an elderly man, the suspicious death of a baby, and a transient causing issues with the fire department that wasn't cooperating.

Turner said their officers do their best to prioritize calls and respond as fast as they can.

Turner said the first call for the shoplifter came in at 9:05 p.m., officers were dispatched from other scenes at 9:29 p.m. and arrived at 9:38 p.m. He says the Chula Vista Police Department wishes they could respond to every call as soon as it comes in, but there's just not enough manpower.

"If somebody retires we have to already be ready to put somebody in place," Torres said. "This can no longer continue to happen. It's not fair."

“We need to be sure that we are budgeting so that we can have the proper patrols, specifically on the east side,” Torres said.

Turner said a man named Thien Phung was detained and given a summons to appear for a petty theft violation.

He also said right now there are eight openings on the force.