Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Public safety

Police: Woman steals St. Pete police cruiser but is arrested after driving to Tampa

ST. PETERSBURG — A woman stole a St. Petersburg police cruiser Saturday night and drove it to Tampa, where she fled from the car before being arrested, police said.

It all started at 9:27 p.m. when two officers, driving separate cars, arrived at the scene of a domestic quarrel at an apartment at 980 62nd Ave. S. While the officers were inside the apartment, a woman, later identified as Vanessa Brooks, 22, flagged down a passing truck on 62nd Avenue, police said.

After the driver stopped, Brooks reached inside the truck, grabbed a cellphone, and ran back into the apartment complex, police said.

As the driver chased her, Brooks made her way to where the officers had parked their cars. She jumped inside one, grabbed the keys, which were not in the ignition, and started the car, police said. As Brooks backed the car up, she collided with the other police car, causing damage. She then took off, police said.

At 9:41 p.m., the officers came back outside and discovered the missing car. They alerted other officers of the theft and notified Tampa police and the Florida Highway Patrol to be on the lookout for the stolen car, authorities said.

At 9:58 p.m., Tampa police officers saw the car in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant at 1600 Kennedy Blvd., police said. Brooks ran from the car and officers chased and arrested her. Meanwhile, the car, which was left in gear, rolled backward and collided with a tree, police said.

Brooks is facing charges of vehicle burglary, auto theft and leaving the scene of a crash. She was in the process of being booked in the Pinellas County Jail late Saturday night, police said.

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