12/05/2007

Fla. officer injured after patrol car is rammed

The Orlando Sentinel
Related: N.C. officer recovering after flipping squad

EDGEWOOD, Fla. — Edgewood police are looking for two men who were caught committing the relatively minor crime of criminal mischief early Tuesday but became wanted as felons for attacking a police officer.

In response to a rash of smash-and-grab burglaries in the small city just south of Orlando, officers were staked out overnight in front of the Edgewood Isles shopping plaza on Hoffner Avenue, police Chief John Tegg said.

The plaza has been hit several times by burglars who steal cars, then crash through store windows to grab safes before fleeing.

Officers thought the burglars had returned when they spotted the two men driving up in a Toyota sedan about 5 a.m., and then back the car up to the Family Dollar store, Tegg said.

The men were breaking into a soda machine outside the store when officers decided to approach, Tegg said, but they jumped back into the car and drove off, ramming a nearby patrol car. The two cars' bumpers got locked, and the suspects dragged the cruiser across Hansel Avenue.

The cars broke apart when the getaway car struck a curb, allowing the suspects to flee, Tegg said.

Officer Chris Meade, who was in the cruiser, suffered a minor knee injury. He was treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Police are unsure whether the two suspects are the same men wanted for the recent burglaries. But Tegg said officers are searching for the men, now wanted for felony battery on a law-enforcement officer in addition to the misdemeanor mischief charges.

Copyright 2007 The Orlando Sentinel

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