Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
June 12, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR LEADING POLICE ON HIGH SPEED CHASE AFTER TAKING HOSTAGE IN CHECK CASHING BUSINESS ROBBERY
NEWPORT BEACH – A man will be arraigned today on charges of leading officers on a high speed chase after taking a hostage during a robbery at a Lake Forest check cashing business. Tracy Ramon Seward, 39, Laguna Hills, is charged with two felony counts of aggravated kidnapping, two felony counts of assault with a firearm, and one felony count each of taking a hostage, robbery, the use of a firearm to resist arrest, resisting arrest by force and threats of violence, evading police officers, and sentencing enhancement allegations for the personal use of a firearm. Seward faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted on all counts. The People will be requesting $2 million bail at his arraignment today, Friday, June 12, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach. The Department is to be assigned.
At approximately 8:50 a.m. on June 10, 2009, Seward is accused of entering a check cashing business in Lake Forest, Pay Day Loans, carrying a semi-automatic firearm in his pocket. Seward is accused of pulling out the firearm and grabbing Abdul L., a customer. He is accused of pointing the firearm at the victim’s head and threatening to kill him if the clerk, Laura B., activated the alarm. Seward is accused of demanding that the clerk give him all of the money from the safe while repeatedly threatening to kill Abdul L.
Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) arrived at Pay Day Loans while the defendant was still inside. Seward is accused of forcing Abdul L. from the store at gunpoint and using him as a shield as officers ordered Seward to drop his weapon. The defendant is accused of threatening the officers that he would kill the victim, forcing Abdul L. into his car, and then pointing his firearm at officers as he got into the car.
Seward is accused of fleeing the scene in his car with Abdul L. as a hostage. He is accused of leading OCSD deputies on a pursuit for approximately 45 minutes at speeds up to 115 mph. He is accused of recklessly evading officers and running through approximately 23 red lights, crashing into and damaging another car as he fled. Seward was eventually arrested at approximately 10:00 a.m. in a Laguna Hills business parking lot after being cornered in his car by officers.
Abdul L. did not sustain any physical injuries. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Anthony Sosnowski at (714) 347-8814.
Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.