SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA (KOLO) - A man has been arrested after a year-long investigation led to a chase and fire.
South Lake Tahoe Police say in May 2018, Christopher Wadstein was arrested in connection to 17 firearms stolen from a car in a hotel parking lot. Most of the weapons were recovered, but not all of them. Wadstein went to jail and got out on bond, then left El Dorado County.
Over the past year, detectives learned Wadstein, now 30 years old, was moving around between North Dakota, Sacramento, and Douglas County, where he has outstanding warrants for assault with a deadly weapon. In El Dorado County, warrants are in place for theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
May 21, 2019, detectives got information from North Dakota investigators that Wadstein was in the Sacramento area to buy drugs and weapons to take back to North Dakota.
South Lake Tahoe Police, along with the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and the El Dorado County DA’s Office, went to the Sacramento area to try to find him. They found him headed toward South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50 near the Ponderosa exit.
Deputies tried to pull Wadstein over, but they say he took off and started driving into oncoming traffic. Deputies ended the chase because it was too dangerous for drivers in the area.
Shortly after that, Wadstein was found by the California Highway Patrol heading back to Sacramento. CHP says he led officers on a high-speed chase along Highway 50, with a Sacramento County Sheriff’s helicopter crew and CHP plane pilot helping track him.
South Lake Tahoe Police say it came to an end when Wadstein’s truck caught fire. He jumped from the moving truck and ran toward the river in south Sacramento. He was arrested with nearly a pound of methamphetamine on him.
The Sacramento Metro Fire Department responded to the fire and reports hearing what sounded like ammunition exploding.
South Lake Tahoe Police say Wadstein is a long-time South Lake Tahoe resident with arrests dating to his teenage years. His convictions range from drugs and vandalism to kidnapping and weapons charges. Police also believe he is a skinhead, white supremacist prison gang member.
South Lake Tahoe investigators will process Wadstein’s truck for weapons and drugs.
Copyright KOLO-TV 2019