A guest went on a ride-along with a sheriff's deputy, then stole the deputy's patrol car early Wednesday and led police on a chase through three cities, authorities said.
Steven Funderburk, 20, was riding with Los Angeles County Deputy Alexander Miller under a program that allows anyone to accompany an officer if they have no felony convictions and fill out an application, authorities said.
When Miller's shift ended after 1 a.m., Funderburk asked to retrieve his bag from the car in the parking lot. When Miller returned to check on Funderburk, the car was gone, sheriff's Sgt. Don Manumaleuna said.
Miller was able to talk to Funderburk on the patrol car's radio and persuaded him to surrender without incident after a chase through Compton, Long Beach and Westminster, Manumaleuna said.
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Manumaleuna said Funderburk developed a good rapport with Miller during the ride-along and did nothing to arouse suspicion.
"It's very bizarre," he said. "We're still trying to figure this one out."