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Witnesses chased after woman at wheel, who now faces charge of grand theft auto, says LAPD

A cyclist in California got a big surprise as he rode through traffic – among the vehicles he passed was a black SUV that had been stolen from his wife. The woman at the wheel fled the scene, but was caught by witnesses.

The incident happened on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice on Saturday morning, reports ABC7.

It was caught on mobile phone by Matthew Santoro, who happens to have more than 580,000 followers on Twitter and 6 million subscribers on YouTube, and who was in a passing vehicle.

His footage shows the cyclist on the phone, presumably to the police, with his bike propped against the front of the car to prevent the driver from making off in the vehicle – not an easy task, given the traffic.

Instead, while he was mid-call, she started to walk off at a very brisk pace but was chased down by witnesses.

The woman, 39-year-old Erica Puig, now faces charges of grand theft auto, according to the Los Angeles Police Department, who confirmed that the vehicle had been stolen from Santa Monica.

Afterwards, Santoro said on Twitter: "We captured it and the LAPD retweeted it, and they DM'd me and said thank you for basically capturing somebody."

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.