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RPD: Car Thief Suspect Arrested After Jumping Into River

A suspected car thief was captured despite taking a dip in the Sacramento River. At around 11PM Sunday night Redding Police responded to reports that 8 or 9 people were in the road trying to stop cars near Parkview and Henderson off Hartnell. The first arriving officer saw a suspicious-looking GMC Yukon hanging around. When he tried stop it the driver drove north behind the Cobblestone Shopping Center until it got disabled on some large boulders under the Cypress Avenue Bridge. The driver took off on foot along the river’s edge. Officers learned the SUV was stolen when the owner, Austin Vaughn, walked up and told them. He said the thief was 19-year-old Nicholas Truman Blunkall, who had 3 arrest warrants. Officers started tracking Blunkall with Otto the K9 and a CHP helicopter. Otto followed a trail about a hundred yards until it went into the river. Blunkall apparently had floated downriver almost back to the Cypress Bridge, where he was spotted by the helicopter and captured.