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Handcuffed prisoner steals police car, starts chase

He then crashed into four parked cars.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Brian A Jackson

A HANDCUFFED PRISONER seated in the back of a police car in a New York village was able to slip the cuffs in front of him and steal the vehicle.

He led officers on a chase before crashing into several parked cars in a residential community on Long Island, officials have said.

Police in the village of Freeport, about 48km from Manhattan, pulled over Andrew Howard’s minivan at around 10pm on Thursday after an alert from licence plate readers notified them that the 36-year-old had open warrants, authorities said.

The officers arrested Howard, handcuffing him and placing him in the back of a police sport-utility vehicle.

However, Howard was able to slip the handcuffs in front of him and squeeze through a small partition between the front and back seats. Police said the opening was about one square foot. Newsday reported Howard as being 5 feet 9 inches and weighing 155 pounds.

“This is a very nimble and very agile individual …,” Detective Lieutenant Richard Lebrun, a Nassau County Police Department spokesman, said at a news conference. “It was a sliding Plexiglas partition and nobody ever thought that an individual could squeeze through an 11.5 by 12-and-a-quarter square hole.”

Crash

Police said Howard made his way behind the wheel and took off in the SUV, leading officers on a chase for nearly 3km before he crashed into four parked cars in a residential neighborhood in Merrick.

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No injuries were reported.

Howard was arrested on charges including escape, resisting arrest, unlawful fleeing of police, and grand larceny. Two women who were in the minivan also were arrested after police said they found a knife in the van.

After his arrest, Howard was taken to a hospital for what police say was an unrelated medical condition. He remained hospitalised on Friday night and was arraigned yesterday.

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