Man Admits to Robbing Mira Mesa Credit Union, Leading Police on Chase

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A man who held up a Mira Mesa credit union office, then led police and sheriff’s personnel on a high-speed, four-city pursuit that ended with his arrest in Carlsbad, pleaded guilty Tuesday to robbery and reckless evading charges.

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Thomas Joseph Dufek, 29, faces five years and eight months in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 22.

Authorities said Dufek robbed the Navy Federal Credit Union branch in the 10800 block of Black Mountain Road about 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 3 and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

When officers caught up with Dufek’s white Toyota pickup truck a short time later, he refused to yield, instead fleeing to the north over city streets and onto northbound Interstate 15, San Diego police Lt. Eric Hays said.

The suspect sped through northern San Diego and Escondido, then headed west on state Route 78 and crossed into San Marcos, where sheriff’s personnel began tailing him.

The pursuit, which reached speeds in excess of 100 mph, came to an end after Dufek ran over a tire-flattening spike strip laid in his path by officers. He pulled to a stop on Palomar Airport Road, bailed out of his crippled truck and ran off to the south, climbing over fences and traipsing through residential yards.

Deputies finally caught up with the suspect in the area of Rancho Del Canon and Rancho La Presa streets, near Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, and took him into custody without further incident, sheriff’s Lt. Glenn Giannantonio said.

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