Morristown, TN - Suspect In Handcuffs Responsible For 15 Stolen Cars - Steals Hamblen Co. Sheriff's Department Patrol Car - Rolls Patrol Car Over - Escapes - Steals More Vehicles - Still Wanted

Match 15, 2015

local8now.com

More than fifteen stolen cars, a chase that lasted several days and spanned multiple counties: That was the result of what deputies are callings one man's joy ride.

Deputies caught Joshua Cooper last night in Jefferson County. Hamblen County Deputies say Cooper stole cars from car lots, parking lots, and anywhere he could find them. Sheriff Esco Jarnagin says Hamblen County joined the chase on Friday night.

"When the BOLO went out that he would steal a white vehicle, he would spray-paint it black, so it was throwing law enforcement off," he says.

When deputies caught up with him, they say he rammed a cruiser causing significant damage.

"We didn't feel like he had a weapon except for a 2,000 pound vehicle, but he didn't care to use that and put people in harm's way and endanger many innocent lives," says Sheriff Jarnagin.

Deputies first took Cooper to the hospital to get checked out. Then, they took him to one of the crime scenes for questioning. While there, deputies say he escaped by crawling through a 12 by 12 inch square in the back of the cruiser while wearing handcuffs. They say he drove off in the cruiser and ditched it a short distance away.

"It was a mistake on behalf of the Hamblen County Sheriff's Department that we let him escape from our cruiser. That was a mistake that will be addressed." says Sheriff Jarnagain.

After that, deputies didn't see Cooper until early Monday morning when they say they found him dribing in a stolen car down the 1-40 bridge in Dandridge. Deputies say they arrested him after he rammed a Dandridge Police cruiser and ran off. They say he jumped off the bridge to evade arrest, but deputies followed him and arrested him at the bottom.

"It was such a difficult terrain that they called in for a boat to retrieve them," says Sheriff Jarnagin.

The sheriff says Cooper didn't hotwire a single car. Instead, Sheriff Jarnagin says that Cooper targeted cars that already had keys inside of them. Jarnagin says Cooper also set fire to some of those cars. He is currently being held at Jefferson County jail.

UPDATE 3/16/15 12:30 am

According to Hamblen County sheriff, Joshua Cooper was captured.

The sheriff told Local 8 News, Cooper stole a truck from Weigel's in Hamblen County. He crashed that truck head on into a tractor trailer. Cooper tried to get away from authorities by swimming through a lake, but he was caught.

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