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Posted on Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 9:33 a.m.

Stolen patrol car stopped by police on I-94 near Belleville

By Paula Gardner

A police dispatcher used technology to track a patrol car after a 26-year-old man drove off in the vehicle Saturday morning in PIttsfield Township.

The incident started at about 6:30 a.m. when Pittsfield Township police were investigating suspicious activity near a gas station in the 4900 block of Washtenaw.

The 26-year-old man, whom police described as homeless and known to them, had been "acting erratically," said Deputy Chief Gordy Schick.

The officer talked to the man, then went inside the gas station to make sure the clerk was OK.

At that point, the suspect jumped into the patrol car and drove off toward Hewitt Road in Ypsilanti Township.

He drove the patrol car south to the I-94 entrance ramp, then entered the highway and headed east toward Belleville at speeds up to 80 mph.

"He made it as far as Haggerty and I-94," Schick said.

But dispatchers were using "Automated Vehicle Technology" to track the patrol car's location, and officers from the township, Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office and Michigan State Police were following it.

"We were tracking his whereabouts," Schick said.

The driver pulled onto the shoulder of the road, Schick said, and he complied with officers' orders to get out of the vehicle.

There was no damage to the patrol car, Schick added.

The man was taken to the Washtenaw County Jail, and charges are pending.

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Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.



Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

Below : Why leave the keys in the ignition was my first thought? Years ago I worked for a bread company. We had left the keys in the ignition for decades without considering someone might steal a bread truck. All it took was one theft and the insurance company stated anyone leaving their keys in the ignition while making a "quick" delivery will be responsible for the theft of that vehicle if it should happen. Cops always jump out of their running vehicles while pursuing a suspect. Or just answering a crime taking place. Who in the world would steal a police car. Someone looking for three meals a day maybe?


Sun, Mar 25, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

At least the guy won't be homeless for a while. Plus he'll get free meals. Maybe that is why he drove off!


Sun, Mar 25, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Reminds me of an Adam 12 episode I just saw. The cops asked him why he did it? His reply? Because I wanted to see how it felt to be one of the good guys. OK.

Jimmy McNulty

Sun, Mar 25, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

Why didn't he lock the door? Although it is the alleged theif who is to blame, I believe the officer will (in the words of Desi Arnaz) "have some splainnin' to do."


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 10:23 p.m.

NIce!!! Leave the police car running while you go into the gas station....meanwhile crazy, ERRATIC man outside. LOL...Real smart. I am glad that you trust the CRAZY MAN NOT TO STEAL POLICE VEHICLE. Hmmm.... TAX MONEY TO GOOD USE, NOT!!!


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

The most they can charge him with is felony unlawfully driving away an auto which has a 5-year maximum prison term. There is actually a company, Tremco Police Products, which modifies patrol cars to make them theft-resistant. Police car theft happens not infrequently. In Southfield last year a patrol officer abandoned his vehicle to give chase on foot to apprehend a suspect and the suspect doubled back toward the open and running police vehicle and drove into Detroit where the auto was recovered several hours later. The suspect was arrested about a month later. Kind of an embarrassing episode for the officer though.

Joy Bash

Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

I see police do this all the time. I do believe their is a law that you can't leave your car running if you aren't in it, like in the winter when people want to warm up their cars. I was in line paying for my gas once and the guy in front of me watched as someone drove off in his car. Common sense should tell you not to leave your car keys in the ignition if you aren't in it. I never leave keys in the car. This cop will never live this one down. It will be the joke of the shop until he retires. hee hee hee


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

No word on if the smell is out yet?


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

automated vehicle technology implies something more than maybe the ability to shut off the engine remotely? This is the second chase based on a guy taking off with a police car. Maybe a county-wide procedure review is in order?


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Sounds like the police officer procedures for an incident like this need to be reviewed or if the officer violated the SOP he needs to be retrained!


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

Since the suspect's tax dollars paid for a wonderful patrol car with the nice "Automated Vehicle Technology", he should be allowed to borrow a ride to make sure everything worked efficiently. Appears he proved that theory to me... only time will tell.. like in the Hogback on more taxpayer dole.


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

my guess is he is part of the 51% of US Citizens that do not pay taxes, just a hunch.


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Why leave the keys in the ignition was my first thought?

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

im sure that cops sargent will echo your sentiments action.


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

when u are in and out of a patrol car 30-40 times in a day, its just easier, but can obviously bite you in the rear should you also not lock the door.

Dan Pepper

Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

"Car 54 Where Are You?"


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Guy decided to pull over when he noticed the box on the front seat had already been picked through and all the nutty donuts were gone.


Sun, Mar 25, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Don't forget the coffee too.


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

That officer will not hear the end of this anytime soon, let the jokes begin!


Sat, Mar 24, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

"Automated Vehicle Technology"? Hee hee.... GPS? Just about everybody has that.


Sun, Mar 25, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

They can track you on your cell phone too. Kind of eerie to think about that one.