"One of our deputies patrolling in Alamo Plaza shopping center got flagged down by a Rite Aid employee who said the store was burglarized by four men," said county Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee.
The employees told the deputy the suspects had taken liquor and then fled north in a gray van.
"They collided with another vehicle at Danville Boulevard and Livorna Road," said Lee. "Then the four suspects took off on foot."
Deputies from the Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol spread out in the area, and canines and a helicopter helped in the pursuit. Police marked off the perimeter as far as Trotter Way with their vehicles, lights flashing in the cold early darkness. Deputies could be seen from Livorna Road searching in culverts with their flashlights and police dogs near Alamo Elementary School, although Lee said the suspects stayed mostly on the west side of I-680.
"They went into back yards and the residential area around the creek," Lee said.
Three of the suspects were caught that evening, Lee said. Two were booked into County Jail, and the third, a minor, was taken to Juvenile Hall. Lee said Monday that they have the name of the fourth suspect.
"Kudos to the numerous citizens who called and said they were in particular places," said Lee. "We received a number of calls from citizens."
He said the helicopters used "forward looking infrared," which can detect body heat to locate individuals. This enabled deputies with search canines to locate the suspects.
"They have helped out in numerous cases like this," said Lee.
The suspects will face felony hit-and-run as well as burglary charges, said Lee. He noted that some of the individuals in the vehicle they struck suffered minor injuries.