Tiger attack victim arrested as theft suspect
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, March 29, 2008
(03-28) 16:09 PDT San Leandro – — The younger of two brothers who survived a Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo was arrested on suspicion of trying to steal two video game controllers from a San Leandro store, police said Friday.
Paul Dhaliwal, 19, hid two Nintendo Wii controllers in his pants at the Target store at the Bayfair Center mall about 6:30 p.m. Thursday, San Leandro police Lt. Tom Overton said.
Store security officer Michael Marucut, dressed in plain clothes, told authorities that he witnessed the theft and followed Dhaliwal as he walked past the cash registers, “never making an attempt to pay for the concealed items,” the police report said.
Once Dhaliwal walked outside the store, Marucut and several other security officials confronted him. Dhaliwal “was uncooperative and immediately began to resist,” Marucut wrote in a statement included in the police report.
Dhaliwal was subdued and placed under citizen’s arrest. Officer Warren DeGuzman arrived and took Dhaliwal into custody. After he was read his rights, Dhaliwal “admitted to selecting and concealing the merchandise,” DeGuzman wrote in his report.
But Dhaliwal said he never left the store with the items, the police report said.
Dhaliwal, whose scars from the tiger attack are still visible on his head, was arrested for petty theft, Overton said. Dhaliwal posted $1,500 bail shortly before 3 p.m. Friday, police said.
The incident at Target happened on the same day the brothers filed a claim against the city of San Francisco, seeking unspecified monetary damages in connection with the tiger attack. A message left for Paul Dhaliwal wasn’t returned.
The alleged shoplifting incident isn’t his first brush with the law.
In February, both he and his brother, Kulbir Dhaliwal, 24, who also survived the tiger attack, were in court to seek the personnel records of San Jose officers who arrested them after they scuffled with police on Sept. 7. But at a hearing Friday, the defense withdrew that motion, said Stuart Scott, a Santa Clara County deputy district attorney. An attorney for Paul Dhaliwal did not return a call for comment.
After that incident, both men were charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. Paul Dhaliwal was also charged with misdemeanor battery on a police officer.
The brothers were arrested after they allegedly refused to cooperate with officers who reported seeing them chase two men down the street, according to police reports.
Paul Dhaliwal is accused of hitting an officer in the chest with his forearm as the officer tried to restrain him, leading to the battery charge. He stopped resisting only when an officer held a stun gun to his neck and threatened to use it, according to a police report.
Kulbir Dhaliwal cursed at officers while kicking the security partition in a squad car, forcing police to pull him out and put him in leg restraints, the police report states.
In February, Paul Dhaliwal pleaded not guilty to marijuana possession after being cited Dec. 21 for allegedly having 1.8 grams of pot in his pocket while in the parking lot of a Milpitas hotel.
He had been placed on probation three days before that incident after pleading no contest to felony reckless driving and other charges for leading police on a 140 mph chase on April 28, court records show.
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