California Highway Patrol arrested a man in Manteca Tuesday morning suspected in several robberies in the Bay Area and Central Valley, including Long's Drugs in the Rosewood Pavilion and the Fremont Bank inside Safeway on Santa Rita Road.
Lt. Darrin Davis of the Pleasanton Police Department said the man arrested, Michael Ferguson, 26, is currently a Manteca resident, but has lived throughout the Tri-Valley. As of Monday morning, he was suspected in 10 robberies, mostly drug stores, in Sacramento, Stockton, Modesto, Tracy and Escalon.
Over the weekend, Dublin police reported a traffic stop of Ferguson, where he fled during a car search. Police found a large amount of Oxycontin, a prescription drug. Pleasanton Det. Larry Cox noticed the report and that Ferguson matched the description of footage from the Long's Drugs robbery Aug. 7 and the descriptions of other robberies, some in which Oxycontin was stolen.
"He appears to be the primary person behind all the robberies," Davis said. "His robberies were two kinds: traditional robbery for cash or going straight to the pharmacy for Oxycontin. It's a very powerful opium derivative that sells on the street for $40 to $50 per pill."
As Pleasanton police communicated with other departments and followed up on leads, a suspect matching Ferguson's description was wanted for alleged robberies in Manteca and the Fremont Bank in Safeway on Santa Rita Road, where he stole an undisclosed amount of cash. Later on that day, he was believed to have been involved in two armed robberies in Hayward and San Ramon. The total number of suspected robberies then totaled 15, most of which involved a handgun, Davis said.
After a 24-hour manhunt, Pleasanton police located Ferguson in a Ford Escort around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday morning parked at the Pleasanton courthouse on Stoneridge Drive. Officers attempted to block the car in, but he escaped in the car heading for a Pleasanton police Ford Expedition in the parking lot. A police sergeant stood in between the car and the open driver's door where Ferguson allegedly hit the SUV's door, striking the sergeant in the head.
Davis said the sergeant has recovered and is back at work and believes Ferguson's actions were intentional.
Ferguson headed through Pleasanton in Interstate 580, where the California Highway Patrol took over the chase, which lasted 90 minutes and ended in an arrest in Manteca. He was charged with one count of felony evading police, one count of assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer and felony hit and run.
It is unknown at this time if Ferguson was under the influence of any drugs, but Davis said he has a criminal history of drug use.