Felon Charged With Stealing Tesla, Leading Cops On Chase

Felon Charged With Stealing Tesla, Leading Cops On Chase

Ceci Partridge

A probationer who allegedly stole a Tesla in Riverside and led police on a pursuit into Orange County, where the plug-in sports car died and he was apprehended, was charged Thursday with auto theft and other offenses.

Filiberto Alexander Felix, 30, was arrested Sunday night after the chase that began in west Riverside.

Along with the vehicle theft count, Felix is charged with felony evading, receiving stolen property and a sentence-enhancing allegation of being a repeat offender.

He’s being held in lieu of $150,000 bail at the Indio Jail and was slated to make his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

Felon Suspected of Stealing Tesla, Fleeing Cops

According to a Riverside Police Department statement, shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, a man parked his Tesla in a parking garage in the 1400 block of Everton Place, near Iowa Avenue, and soon afterward the car was taken.

The victim, whose identity was not released, was immediately alerted to the theft and able to track his vehicle via a mobile phone app designed specifically for that brand of automobile, authorities said.

The man called 911, and dispatchers relayed the information to patrol officers, who followed the victim’s instructions on where to look for the Tesla, which exited the Riverside (91) Freeway onto Adams Street a few minutes later, allegedly with Felix at the wheel, according to investigators.

Officers signaled the convicted felon to stop, but he allegedly floored it, racing down city streets with patrolmen in pursuit, police said.

Felix went back onto the 91, then quickly exited at Magnolia Avenue, leading officers “up La Sierra Road to Cajalco Road, then to Interstate 15,” according to the agency statement.

“Because of his high speeds and dangerous driving, our officers pulled out of the pursuit, but the police air unit kept on it,” the statement said.

The helicopter crew observed Felix rejoin the 91 westbound, heading through Corona and toward Anaheim, but the plug-in Tesla’s battery soon lost energy, and the defendant was forced to pull over on the freeway, where California Highway Patrol officers arrested him without further incident, according to police.

According to court records, Felix has prior convictions for assault and driving under the influence of drugs.