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San Mateo, CA Police Department
Tuesday November 28th, 2023 :: 11:51 a.m. PST


Assault on Loss Prevention leads to Pursuit, Child Endangerment and Arrest

After stealing from multiple stores at Hillsdale Shopping Center, suspect assaults Macy’s loss prevention, flees the scene with two minors in the car, evades police during reckless pursuit, but ultimately yields when located by an outside police agency approximately 20 minutes later.

San Mateo, CA – On November 27, 2023, at 5:39 p.m., the San Mateo Police Department was notified by Macy’s (301 Hillsdale Mall) Loss Prevention that an agent had been pepper sprayed and assaulted by a shoplifter who stole from the store before she fled the shopping center in a vehicle. A suspect vehicle description was given to officers, who were nearby on an unrelated call for service. Officers were able to locate the vehicle as it left the mall, at which time the driver failed to yield to a traffic stop, so a short pursuit was initiated. During the pursuit, the driver drove recklessly by running several stops signs, a stop light, and travelled on the opposite side of the roadway causing a minor collision. While this was occurring, information was obtained that there was likely a toddler in the vehicle. Due to the recklessness and blatant disregard for public safety, the pursuit was terminated after two minutes, and the vehicle was last seen traveling westbound State Route 92 from South El Camino Real. A “be on the lookout” (BOL) message was shared with county law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
SMPD continued their investigation into the theft at Macy’s and determined the suspect attempted to steal cosmetics and clothing by concealing them in the base of a stroller and left the store without paying. When confronted by loss prevention, the suspect gave back the property, but when being detained for police response, she assaulted a loss prevention agent by kicking him and attempting to bite another. While pepper spray was on the suspect, it was not used and taken by loss prevention before it could be.
At 6:09 p.m., a Colma Police Department officer located the suspect vehicle, followed it, and ultimately conducted a traffic stop at Geneva and San Jose Aves. in San Francisco. The driver yielded and it was discovered that a 15-year-old relative and the driver’s 1 year old child was in the car. Both were with the suspect when she committed the theft from Macy’s and an additional store at Hillsdale Shopping Center, as well as in the vehicle during the pursuit. SMPD officers responded to the location of the traffic stop and took over the investigation. The driver, identified as Estrella Paniagua, was arrested on multiple charges, and the two minors were released to family members.
Observant Loss Prevention Officers continue to identify shoplifters and retail thieves, and quick reporting to police allow for an immediate response and suspect identification, which, ultimately leads to arrest in many cases. The San Mateo Police Department urges our community to be “good witnesses” if you see a crime occurring and relay the 5 W’s: the who, what, where, when, and why.
Estrella Paniagua, 24-year-old Daly City resident
212.5(c)PC – Second Degree Robbery, 2800.2(a)VC – Evade a Peace Officer w/Disregard for Public Safety, 2800.4VC – Evade a Peace Officer/Drive Opposite Direction, and 273A(A)PC – Child Endangerment    

San Mateo, CA Police Department
200 Franklin Pkwy
San Mateo, CA 94403

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 650-522-7700

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