San Mateo Macy's Marauder Nabbed After Tot-Toting Car Chase

San Mateo Macy's Marauder Nabbed After Tot-Toting Car ChaseSource: Google Street View
Nina Singh-Hudson
Published on November 28, 2023

A wild chase unfolded in San Mateo as a brazen shoplifter led police on a frantic pursuit, toddler and teen in tow, after assaulting a store detective at Macy's. Estrella Paniagua, a 24-year-old Daly City woman, was busted following her alleged crime spree at the Hillsdale Shopping Center that culminated in a heart-stopping chase, the San Mateo Police Department reported.

In a daring sequence of events on November 27, Paniagua pepper sprayed and physically confronted a loss prevention officer who caught her stealing cosmetics and clothes, using a stroller to conceal the items before making a break for it. In a desperate attempt to escape capture, Paniagua bolted from the scene with a minor collision happening during her reckless escape. She ignored traffic signals and sped on the wrong side of the road, all while a young child's safety dangled precariously on the balance.

The pursuit, deemed too perilous to continue by police, was brought to a halt within two minutes upon the harrowing discovery that a toddler, later revealed to be Paniagua’s own 1-year-old, and a teenager were in the suspect's vehicle. Driven by a mandate to safeguard the public and innocent passengers, the chase was discontinued, though a "be on the lookout" alert ensured that Estrella Paniagua's flight from the law was short-lived.

Coming to an anticlimactic end far from the shopping center's chaos, the fugitive's vehicle was spotted by a Colma Police Department officer. Paniagua and her underage accomplices were cornered at Geneva and San Jose Ave. in San Francisco. There, the law caught up with her—sanctions were swift, and Paniagua was slapped with multiple grave charges, including second-degree robbery, evading a peace officer with disregard for public safety, driving in the opposite direction during a police evasion, and child endangerment.