Alleged fugitive engages in quick change, eventual arrest

A quick haircut and change of clothes didn’t keep an alleged fugitive from arrest Monday afternoon in a north Sacramento neighborhood.

Officers with the Sacramento Police Department found Justin Shawn Berger, 18, hiding in a trash can near the 900 block of Frienza Avenue after an extended search by patrol cars, helicopters and police dogs swarmed a three-block grid and evacuated several homes, according to the department’s daily activity log.

Officers first tried to make contact with Berger and a 33-year-old woman later identified as Lisa Lester in a parking lot on the 2500 block of Del Paso Boulevard. Police say Berger took off running and chucked a gun into a home’s backyard while hopping fences to escape.

Berger reportedly sought shelter inside the home of 32-year-old Valente Ortega, who police say is acquainted with the suspect. When Berger exited the back of the home, he was in different clothes and had cut his hair, police say. An Air1 helicopter spotted the suspect near the side of the house, logs state.

Police arrested all three—Ortega for assisting Berger, and Lester on two outstanding felony warrants. According to online Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department records, Berger was in the main jail on Monday on three felony firearm charges and one misdemeanor charge of evasion. He was due in court May 28.

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