Man, teen arrested in Auburn assault, carjacking

A teenager and a 19-year-old Auburn man were arrested on suspicion of assaulting a woman in Auburn and stealing her car Monday.

The woman was driving home from church Monday evening just after 8:30 when she thought she'd run over some brush in the road. She pulled over to check her car in the area of Auburn Ravine Road, Palm Avenue and Mikkelsen Drive, according to Auburn police Sgt. Rick Hardesty.

"Somebody pulled back the hood of my Carhart jacket and the next thing I know, I was cracked with a baseball bat," said the victim, who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

The victim thought of her purse on her car seat, but before she could run to try to retrieve it, the bigger of the two suspects jumped behind the wheel of her Nissan and threw her purse onto the ground.

"I don't know how many more times I was hit, but that was with maybe a fist or something," she said.

She thought about trying to pick up the purse and it's scattered contents.

"That's when I saw the kid with the bat and I could tell from the look on his face that if I tried to get my purse he was going to hit me again," she said.

She rolled into some brush to be sure the suspects wouldn't try to run her over as they drove away. After they left, she walked to a nearby 7-11 convenience store along Palm Avenue, just 50 yards from where her car was taken. She ran into several church members who called 911.

A description of the woman's vehicle was sent out to law enforcement. Placer County sheriff's deputies spotted the car and pulled it over in Newcastle.

Deputies recovered evidence from the traffic stop that led to the arrest of Juan Antonio Zuniga, 19, and the teen, Hardesty said.

Zuniga is in Placer County Jail on booking charges of assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking and conspiracy. His bail was set at $100,000. The teen, accused of the same allegations, was booked into Placer County Juvenile Hall.

Auburn police said the suspects do not appear to be gang-affiliated. Police said they do not have a motive, beyond the pair's apparent desire to take someone's car.

The victim was taken to an area hospital to be checked. Although she suffered repeated blows, she is grateful she wasn't seriously hurt and is glad to have her car back.

"I feel blessed," she said. "I know that God had my back last night. I do believe that there is evil in the world and I believe I was protected from it last night."


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