By Rachel Wulff

AUBURN (CBS13) — A thief was stopped in his tracks when his getaway car wouldn’t get away in Placer County.

Michael Guillermo Mendoza, 33, is behind bars, accused of stealing $1,100 worth of power tools from an Auburn Home Depot on December 9.

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He can be seen on surveillance video walking out of the store without paying. Several employees and customers follow him out.

Lt. Andrew Scott with Placer County Sheriff’s Office said, “He loads the tools in his car, they try to confront him outside, and he tried to get away, but his car won’t start. He’s got a dead battery.”

At that point, one of the employees starts removing stolen property from Mendoza’s car.

“So, apparently he realized the jig was up and he started pushing other stolen property from the sunroof, trying to just get it out of there so he could leave,” said Scott.

Police say Mendoza tried to flag down someone to jump his car, but he eventually ended up taking off. A K9 officer tracked him down at a nearby Starbucks.

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Customer Mike Rigby said, “that’s crazy I wish I would have been there, that’s unbelievable to me.”

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Rigby says he would have trailed someone stealing from the store.

“I would definitely draw attention to him, make sure he is stopped,” he said.

Police encourage people not to follow thieves out and take matters into their own hands.

“It could be anyone, someone who is completely harmless or someone who is a danger and does not want to get caught. Leave it to us, we will be there,” said Scott.

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Mendoza is charged with burglary and grand theft. Deputies say he was also in possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.
He also had warrants out for his arrest in Nevada County, and was on probation.