Edmonton, Can. - Woman Calls - Man Trying To Open Her Car Door - Police Officer And K-9 Chase Suspect On Foot - Suspect Doubled Back Steals Patrol Car - Crash - Tree

October 30, 2014

edmontonjournal.com

It is not unusual for cops to pursue a car thief — but early Thursday, Edmonton police found themselves in the unusual position of chasing a suspect who had made off with one of their own unmarked vehicles.

Sgt, Steve Sharpe said it is the first time he is aware of in 13 years with the force that someone being pursued on foot ever leaped into the driver’s seat and drove off in a police vehicle.

“It was truly a unique set of circumstances,” Sharpe said during a news briefing in the lobby at police headquarters.

The incident unfolded at approximately 5:30 a.m. when a female motorist called police to complain that a man approached her car and attempted the open door. A canine officer in an unmarked SUV was in the vicinity and heard the call — and quickly responded to the area of 132nd Avenue and 113A Street.

Upon seeing the suspect, the canine officer pursued him on foot with his dog, but the man evaded him and then stole his vehicle, fleeing westbound on 132nd Avenue.

With police chasing him, the suspect then proceeded eastbound on 137th Avenue, but lost control attempting to make a left turn onto 113A Street and crashed into a tree in the northeast corner of the intersection.

The suspect was arrested and taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Sharpe said the man was still being treated for his injuries, and likely faces multiple charges, including stealing and crashing a 2014 SUV valued at $65,000.

“We are hoping to find out later today why he was in the area, and what his motivation was,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe said the pursuit was short-lived — with the suspect taken into custody within about 20 minutes of the call being received.

“Fortunately, this unfolded rather quickly and it was early in the morning when there were not a lot of people on the street,” Sharpe said. “The good news is that no members of the public were injured and that no police officer was harmed.”

Sharpe said as far as he knows, the canine officer did not break protocol by leaving the keys in the vehicle, and that it contained no weapon.

“Each set of circumstances is different,” Sharpe said.

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