03/17/2008

Philly cop car stolen by cuffed suspect

By Stephanie Farr
Philadelphia Daily News

PHLADELPHIA, Pa. — Backseat drivers are notoriously difficult passengers, but a limber young man took the cake yesterday when he maneuvered his way from the backseat of a Philadelphia police cruiser to the front and drove away in the cop car while handcuffed.

Last night, the unidentified man remained on the loose after police found the empty, damaged cruiser at a New Jersey apartment complex.

"He's Hispanic, in his 20s, has a very thin build with black hair, a white T-shirt, dark jeans and he's in handcuffs, that should give it away," Officer Tanya Little, police spokesperson, said when asked to describe the suspect.

The incident began shortly before 6 a.m. when 25th District officers were flagged down at 2nd Street and Glenwood Avenue by a citizen who said that two men in a gold Chevy Tahoe were armed with guns, Little said.

Police caught up with the vehicle at American and Somerset streets, but the driver refused to pull over. Police chased him to 6th and Wood streets, where the car crashed into a pole, Little said.

The officers cuffed the passenger, put him in the back of the police car and took the driver into custody.

"Somehow, while handcuffed, he got all the way from the back seat to the front seat and took off and went from Philadelphia to New Jersey," Little said.

The officers were not in the car when the man made his move. Police were not able to explain how he managed to pull off the trick.

The cruiser was found with some front-end damage at the Centennial Village apartment complex, on State Street near Pierce Avenue, in Camden, shortly before 7 a.m. by New Jersey police. The suspect had already fled the scene, Little said.

The driver of the car, whose identity was not released, remained in police custody as of last night but had yet to be charged, Little said. Police said both cars were impounded and the cruiser was dusted for fingerprints. *

Copyright 2008 The Philadelphia Daily News

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