MOJAVE, Calif. – A man accused of stealing a limo in Las
Vegas faces charges of attempted murder of a police
Sysaketh Monelilay, 23, of Visalia, Calif., was arrested
Sept. 23 when California Highway Patrol officers responded
to a report of the stolen limousine. They found it parked
by the side of Highway 58 near Mojave.
CHP officers said the 2001 Lincoln limousine was stolen
from the Little White Wedding Chapel at 1301 Las Vegas
Blvd. S., Las Vegas, earlier that morning while the driver
was changing out a CD and left the limo running. They
allege Monelilay drove the limo across state lines, where
it ran out of gas.
A passer-by returning home from Colorado saw a report on
Las Vegas television about the stolen limo and contacted
officers when he saw it parked near the road, said Steve
Hunsaker, a spokesman for the CHP.
Monelilay was arrested after officers determined that the
limo, which had the phone number and logo from the wedding
chapel on the side, was the same one reported stolen,
After being placed in the patrol car's front seat, Hunsaker
said Monelilay writhed out of his handcuffs while officers
searched the limo. Troopers allege Monelilay tried to steal
the officer's car, and when the officer tried to remove him
from the moving vehicle, Monelilay grabbed the officer's
gun and began shooting.
No one was shot, but the officer was taken to a nearby
hospital for minor injuries, Hunsaker said. Army Sgt. David
Pierce, who passed the incident on his way back to nearby
Fort Irwin, helped subdue Monelilay, according to police.
Charlotte Richards, proprietor of the wedding chapel, said
the unlocked vehicle was stolen while it was parked in
front of the chapel waiting for a newlywed couple. The
driver, she said, left the car running.
Although she had never had a limo stolen in her 45 years at
the chapel, her advice to drivers suddenly proved true. "I
tell all my drivers, 'You should never leave the key in the
Richards said the driver was not injured, but he left his
cell phone and wallet in the front seat.
Monelilay remained in a San Bernardino, Calif., on
suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer.
The $60,000 limo remained at a CHP impound lot, Hunsaker
The incident closed down traffic on that stretch of highway
for more than five hours, according to the CHP.