North Coast NEWS

Eureka Police searching for armed carjacking suspect

Suspect considered armed and dangerous

EUREKA, Calif. - The Eureka Police Officers stopped a vehicle suspected of DUI in the southern parking lot of the Bayshore Mall, when a passenger ran from the stopped vehicle, on Sunday. 

The Eureka Police Department reported that the incident took place September 17, around 7:00 p.m.

The man ran through the mall and exited through the back, according to officials. Once the man was outside the mall, he pulled out a gun at a woman and stole her bike.

Officials said he rode the bike through the parking lot before he abandoned it and stole a silver Ford Focus sedan from another woman at gunpoint. The woman was unhurt. 

Officers located the sedan on Monday, September 18, on the Hammond Trail in McKinleyville and it is being processed for evidence. 

The driver of the stopped vehicle was identified as John Anthony Vella, 44, of Eureka, was detained at gunpoint. Officials said after the vehicle was searched two loaded guns were found, a 9 mm semi-auto pistol, and .44 magnum revolver, with ammunition. 

Vella, a convicted felon on parole, was arrested for multiple gun violations and a parole hold was authorized, according to the Eureka Police Department. 

Officials said the outstanding suspect should be considered armed and dangerous, and no attempts should be made to contact him.

If anyone sees the suspect they should call 911 or the Eureka Police Department at 707-441-4404. 

Anyone with information on the identification of the suspect is asked to contact Detective Ron Harpham at 707-441-4305.


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