A man wearing nothing but boxer shorts in the pattern of the American flag and sneakers got behind the wheel of a beer delivery truck idling in front of a liquor store in southwest Santa Rosa on Thursday and drove away, according to police.
A customer who saw the heist went inside MD Liquors on Sebastopol Road, alerting a delivery driver who was stocking Coors Banquet brews to what appeared to have been an opportunistic — and allegedly drunken— theft of the yellow truck just before noon, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Jeneane Kucker said.
The beer distribution company tracked the missing truck with a GPS device in the vehicle and alerted police it appeared to be parked somewhere behind a McDonald’s restaurant about three miles away on Yolanda Avenue, Kucker said.
Officers found the truck with the classic red Coors logo abandoned in a vacant lot, but witnesses reported seeing a shirtless man running toward Highway 101.
A man later identified as Matt Hermsmeyer, 46, was spotted dodging traffic as he ran east across six lanes of Highway 101 and disappeared somewhere on the western side, Kucker said. A police dog team and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s helicopter crew joined the search for Hermsmeyer who was finally found crouching in the bushes near the Hearn Avenue overpass, Kucker said.
He was booked into the Sonoma County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail on suspicion of multiple charges including felony grand theft and misdemeanor drunken driving, jail records show. Kucker said the man had no listed address and appeared to be homeless.
The cargo hatch was unlocked but nothing was taken.
“He stole, he parked, he ran, he got arrested,” Kucker said.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.