A Delhi woman survived a surreal carjacking Sunday morning that eventually ended with the suspect contacting law enforcement and turning himself in.
The strange incident began around 7 a.m. Sunday at a home in the 16000 block of Mediterranean Avenue in Delhi. According to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department, the victim, a 19-year-old woman, was first approached by the suspect while sitting in her car as it warmed up.
The woman later told investigators that she noticed the man riding up the driveway on a bicycle and that she tried to lock her doors, but that he was too quick.
The suspect, identified as Michael Lopez, 21, of Delhi got into the passenger side of the woman’s car and told her that it was not safe there and that she needed to drive, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
Lopez allegedly told the woman to drive him to a McDonald’s in Turlock. She initially told him no and to get out, but Lopez began fidgeting with his pants and jacket, which scared her, MacKenzie said. She told investigators she was afraid he might have had a weapon with him and so she started driving to Turlock.
On the drive the suspect was behaving very paranoid, according to the victim’s account. He ordered her to remove the battery from her cell phone and attempted to take the radio out of the car.
The victim drove Lopez to the parking lot of the McDonald’s on Geer Road, at which point he allegedly told her to get out of the car.
The 19-year-old said she was afraid of Lopez, but told him no and to get out of her car.
MacKenzie said Lopez tried to climb into the woman’s seat, but that she pushed him off and he got out of the vehicle. The last the woman saw of the suspect he was in the parking lot of the nearby 7-11.
The Turlock Police Department took a report of a stolen vehicle at the 7-11 that happened within the brief time frame that Lopez was seen in front of the store. It is suspected Lopez stole the vehicle.
Later on Sunday afternoon the Vacaville Police Department contacted the Merced County Sheriff’s department to report that they had Lopez in custody.
According to the police department, Lopez called them and said he was having mental health issues. The responding officers found Lopez in possession of narcotics and believed him to be under the influence of narcotics.
Lopez was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics and carjacking. The stolen vehicle has not been recovered.