Car Thief Convicted

Posted: December 12, 2017

On December 7, 2017, Christopher Ryan Wagner pleaded "no contest" to felony charges of evading an officer, auto theft, threatening an officer, and a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of methamphetamine.  Mr. Wagner was sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in state prison by the Honorable Judge Thomas E. Warriner.

In the early morning hours of August 25, 2017, the vehicle theft victim went outside his home and turned his truck on so the engine could warm up.  He went inside, and came back out to find his truck had been stolen.  Less than one hour later, an Officer with the California Highway Patrol observed Mr. Wagner driving the stolen truck westbound on Highway 50.  The Officer turned on his lights and siren to make a traffic stop.  That's when Mr. Wagner accelerated his speed up to 105 miles per hour.  Mr. Wagner was weaving across multiple lanes of traffic, almost collided head on with an eastbound car, and sped through a fully manned construction zone.  Shortly after, Mr. Wagner came to an abrupt stop in the middle of the highway. 

Mr. Wagner exited the truck and began yelling threats at the Officer.  The Officer ordered Mr. Wagner to the ground, and he complied.  However, while on the ground, Mr. Wagner refused to comply with the Officer's directives and actually made several pointing gestures with his hands towards the Officer which simulated the pointing of a handgun.  Due to Mr. Wagner's continued non-compliance, a Taser was deployed.  The Taser was ineffective and Mr. Wagner got to his feet despite being ordered to remain on the ground.  Mr. Wagner continued to verbally threaten the Officer, and rushed towards the Officer, chasing him around his patrol car.  A second Taser was deployed which was also ineffective.  Mr. Wagner opened the passenger's side door of the Officer's patrol car which is where the Officer stored additional firearms.  Pepper spray was deployed, but had no effect on Mr. Wagner.  Mr. Wagner was then able to get back into the stolen truck, and sped away. 

The pursuit continued a short distance before Mr. Wagner stopped the stolen truck in the eastbound lanes of traffic.  Mr. Wagner exited the truck and began running full speed at the Officer's patrol car.  Mr. Wagner then fled on foot into a wooded area.  A team of officers from the California Highway Patrol, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office and Placerville Police Department began searching for Mr. Wagner with the assistance of two helicopters and an airplane.  Mr. Wagner was located off Sly Park Road in Pollock Pines just 30 minutes later and arrested.

Mr. Wagner has one prior misdemeanor conviction for possession of methamphetamine.