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Home  >  Topics  >  Fugitive

August 10, 2007
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Manhunt ends as police arrest handcuffed suspect who escaped from squad

By Jordan LaPier and Lindsey Collom
The Arizona Republic
Related: 50 Ariz. officers on lookout for suspect who escaped custody

PHOENIX, Ariz. Phoenix police Thursday arrested a man after more than 50 Phoenix police officers scoured an area near 16th Street and Northern Avenue for the suspect, who managed to escape while briefly in custody.

Authorities tracked Lonnie Hansel, 36, to a condominium complex on a tip from a tenant who heard noise coming from a supposedly empty unit.

He was booked into a Maricopa County jail on suspicion of escape and burglary, in addition to the initial charges of burglary, kidnapping, aggravated assault and vehicle theft.

Sgt. Joel Tranter, a Phoenix police spokesman, said Hansel was a suspect in a Sunday home invasion in which he allegedly tied an elderly woman to a chair in her kitchen. Tranter said Hansel freed the uninjured woman before fleeing with her late-model Cadillac.

Wednesday afternoon, officers found Hansel behind the wheel of the stolen Cadillac in a neighborhood just north of the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, Tranter said.

To avoid arrest, Hansel backed the Cadillac into the front end of a patrol car and tried to flee on foot, Tranter said. An officer put handcuffs on Hansel and sat him in the back of a patrol car in order to inspect the damage. Police speculate it didn't take long for Hansel to move his arms from behind his back to the front of his body by passing them under his feet. Hansel then reached out of a window left open for ventilation and used the outside lever to open the car door, Tranter said.

The suspect scaled a wrought iron fence to flee and, in the process, lost his shorts. When police found Hansel in the condo complex on Thursday, he was fully clothed.

Officers also arrested Hansel's girlfriend, Lorie Atkinson, on suspicion of hindering prosecution. Atkinson lives in the complex, and police believe she helped Hansel cut the chain to the handcuffs on his wrists.

He was still wearing the cuffs Thursday morning.

Full story: Manhunt ends as police arrest handcuffed suspect who escaped from squad

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