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CHICO — A couple who police have been searching for since June were arrested about 10 a.m. Thursday outside a local motel.

The suspects, Tara Patterson, 20, and Chase Forcier, 21, both of Chico, are suspected of burglarizing a Chico home in June, and committing forgery and identity theft by using credit cards taken in other burglaries.

They were staying at Motel 6 near Cohasset Road on Thursday and attracted police attention after another motel guest said they were fighting inside their room.

The guest called the desk, and a clerk told police he recognized the pair from seeing their pictures in the newspaper.

They were spotted in the motel parking lot, carrying luggage, as police arrived just before 10 a.m.

Patterson was taken into custody immediately, but Forcier dropped his luggage and fled from officers. He scaled a wire fence and ran across the southbound lanes of Highway 99.

Police found him hiding in bushes in the center median and took him into custody.

A firearm was found inside the room Forcier and Patterson occupied. The room was locked down, and Sgt. Dan Fonseca said he was checking with the district attorney”s office Thursday to determine if detectives could remove the firearm before the checkout time for the room expired. At that point, he said, it would be considered abandoned property.

Forcier was found not to be armed when he fled, but Fonseca said police initially assumed that he was and shut down Highway 99 in both directions for about 15 minutes until he was arrested.

“We were concerned that, if armed, he could have carjacked someone,” Fonseca said.

On June 21, the two were seen leaving a home in the 3100 block of Shallow Springs Terrace that had just been burglarized. Jewelry and a laptop were taken.

A search of the luggage they were carrying turned up several items from reported vehicle burglaries. Property included iPods, checks, vehicle stereos and other items.

The suspects left the area for a time following the June 21 burglary, and it”s known they were contacted by law enforcement officials in at least two other states, Fonseca said.

In one city, the pair reportedly asked for and received emergency travel assistance from law enforcement. Fonseca said those contacts were made before a felony arrest warrant for the suspects had been issued.

There were several reported sightings of the couple in Chico in late July.

Although a considerable number of purchases were made by the couple using stolen credit cards, Fonseca said more businesses rejected the cards than accepted them.

He said it appears the couple allegedly mostly victimized small businesses in the Chico area.

Police learned that the mother of one of the suspects had rented the motel room for them. Police said possible charges against her are being investigated.

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