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A man was arrested outside of Half Moon Bay on Wednesday driving a car believed stolen from a family at Sea World in San Diego, where the man is suspected of spending time with the family while pretending to be a wheelchair-bound stroke victim, San Mateo County sheriff’s officials said. Deputies responded to reports of a reckless driver on state Highway 92 heading towards Half Moon Bay at 10:15 p.m.
A license plate check on the car revealed it was reported stolen, and deputies pulled over the car. The suspect surrendered to deputies and was taken into custody without incident, sheriff’s officials said. The man was not carrying identification and deputies said that he initially gave them a false name, Michael Brown. As he was being transported to the Maguire Correctional Facility in Redwood City, the suspect told deputies he was having chest pains and potentially suffering from a heart attack.
The deputy pulled over and called for medial assistance, and the man was transported to San Mateo County Hospital. As the man was being treated, deputies took his fingerprints and a check revealed he was Thomas William Baker, 56, a wanted parolee at large. Deputies also learned that the car Baker was driving was a rental car suspected stolen from a family vacationing in San Diego from the East Coast on March 31.
Baker is suspected of befriending the family at their hotel and telling them he had suffered a stroke and was wheelchair-bound. The family agreed to take him to Sea World the following day. While at Sea World, Baker is suspected of telling the family that he had left his medicine in their car and asked to use their car keys to retrieve it and meet up with them later. Baker allegedly then drove away in the car, according to the sheriff’s office. After being treated for his chest pains, Baker was booked into Maguire Correctional Facility.
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