04/11/2007

Calif. man loses artificial leg during police chase

By Mark Petix
Whittier Daily News

POMONA, Calif. — Police say Gregory Daniels was nimble enough to help steal a 1,500-pound ATM machine from a Pomona market.

But when it came time to run for it, the 48-year-old didn't have a leg to stand on.

When police cornered a pickup truck with two men they say yanked an ATM from the Pomona Ranch Market on North Garey Avenue early Tuesday, they found Daniels on the ground.

His prosthetic leg had fallen off.

Police say Daniels and another man drove to the market about 3 a.m., smashed a window, wrapped a chain around the ATM and used the truck to rip it from the floor. Then they pulled the ATM over a set of newspaper racks, piled it into the truck and took off.

Officers spotted the truck and chased it into a residential neighborhood, where the men drove into a dead-end street.

One man fled and has not been caught, police Sgt. Mike Olivieri said.

Daniels, and his prosthetic leg, were taken into custody on suspicion of burglary.

Even for a crime-lively city like Pomona, Olivieri says this has to be a first.

Tom Zvoda, assistant manager of Ranch Market, said when he came to work at

4:30 a.m. Tuesday, he was greeted by police who told them they had good news and bad news.

The bad news was the broken window.

The good news was the ATM had been found, along with a prosthetic leg.

"It was just unbelievable, you know?" Zvoda said.

Zvoda spent a good part of Tuesday describing the burglary to TV news crews.

He said they used the chain to smash the 7-foot-by-7-foot window.

"They put the chain around it and dragged it through the hole in the wall," he said. "There was glass inside and out."

He said the ATM holds $500, although he couldn't say how much money was inside the machine during the theft.

For the time being, it's at the police station being checked for fingerprints.

Zvoda used greeting card displays to block the broken window while waiting for the new glass to arrive.

He figures the new glass will cost about $500.

Copyright 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc. and Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Inc.
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