Escapee captured after citizens tackle him

Todd previously arrested for burglary, robbery charges
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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A Placer County Jail inmate’s escape came to an end when a few alert citizens tackled him to the ground Wednesday afternoon. David Lee Todd, 49, thwarted two deputies who were monitoring him during a medical appointment at Auburn Imaging off Professional Drive Wednesday at about 9:45 a.m. Todd was taken to the center because he complained of pain from a fall, said Dena Erwin, Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. She said Todd bolted from his wheelchair and a deputy was unable to catch him. Todd reportedly pushed a woman out of her burgundy Dodge Durango to use as a get-away car, Erwin said. The woman was uninjured, Erwin added. Todd ditched the vehicle about a mile away outside a home on the 3000 block of Park Drive in Auburn and then ran down an embankment into a wooded creek area, according to eyewitness Michael Weaver. Weaver said he was reading a book while sitting on his sofa and saw a bright orange color flash outside his window. He looked out and saw a man wearing an orange jumpsuit run toward the creek. “I came outside and didn’t see anybody but in about five or six minutes, the deputies showed up,” Weaver said. Multiple Sheriff’s Deputies staked out the home area. A team of six deputies along with Nash, a K-9 deputy, ventured into the woods in search of Todd. After about two hours, deputies got a call that Todd was at the Harley-Davidson off Highway 49. Tire Factory employee John Case said he saw Todd emerging from a nearby field still wearing his jumpsuit and looking drenched in water. He said he and a few other men started to chase Todd until they tackled him near an air-conditioning unit by the back of the Harley-Davidson building. “We threw him to the ground and eight guys crowded around him,” Case said. Russ Stein was at the Harley shop talking to friends when Todd was chased over there. He helped contain the man until authorities arrived. “He said ‘I’m not a rapist, I’m not a pervert,’” Stein said. “But I said, ‘You’re wanted so you’re not going anywhere.’” One of the men was a criminal justice major who had a set of handcuffs. Case said they placed the cuffs around Todd. Capt. George Malim, Placer County Jail commander, said deputies were grateful for the help in Todd’s arrest. “These folks put themselves at risk and we really, really appreciate it,” Malim said. Malim said Todd will likely be charged with escape and carjacking. Erwin added that Todd will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon, battery on a peace officer and car theft. As a result of his prior criminal record, Todd was already considered a high-risk offender. Malim said Todd will most likely be placed in the jail’s maximum security unit following his attempted escape. Todd was arrested Dec. 9 and charged with burglary and robbery after he was caught on video kicking in the door of the Raspberry Hill Golf Course pro shop in Auburn Nov. 21. He left the shop with boxes of candy. “Todd is considered a person of interest in at least two commercial burglaries in Colfax as well as the armed robbery of the Colfax Union 76 station two weeks ago,” said Troy Minton-Sander, Sheriff’s sergeant and commander of the Colfax substation, in a Dec. 4 Journal report. Newcastle resident Diane Boswell stopped by the scene Wednesday. She said Todd stole a quad from her home the day after Thanksgiving. “I hunted for him myself,” Boswell said. “We were very excited when they finally caught him.” Todd’s escape caused area schools including Rock Creek Elementary and Chana High School to lock down for most of the morning until early afternoon. Traci Bucher, who has a son in second grade and a daughter in kindergarten at Auburn Elementary School, was upset that precautions weren’t taken at the school on Lariat Ranch Road near Atwood Road. “They’re not doing anything here and I think it’s ridiculous,” Bucher said. “You don’t know for sure where he is and the school is a half mile away. What harm is there in putting the school on lockdown just in case?” Residents in the area were notified via an electronic calling system that an escaped inmate was in the area and were asked to dial 911 immediately if they saw him. Malim said the community’s help made the capture successful. He added that one of the things he enjoys most about working in the community is the involvement from its residents. “People step up and do that right thing,” Malim said. “We’re very grateful for their help.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at or post a comment.