Gwinnett Police said the suspect involved in stealing a police car and then going on a wild ride, including several other auto thefts and hit and runs, has been arrested. Police say he stole at least four vehicles, including the Gwinnett County Police patrol car.
According to a press release from GCPD, the incident began at about 1:15 p.m. when they responded to a hit and run accident at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Britt Road in the Norcross area in unincorporated Gwinnett. Police gave the following report of the incident.
The suspect fled the scene in a box truck toward DeKalb County. One of the witnesses followed the suspect giving our dispatchers updates on his location. There were reports that the suspect was striking other vehicles as he was fleeing.
Eventually the suspect was detained by two witnesses at South Royal Atlanta Drive near Mountain Industrial Boulevard at 1:26pm. When the officer arrived, he found 3 men on the ground. The officer drew his Taser. He eventually learned that two witnesses were holding the suspect down on the ground until the officers arrived to the scene.
The suspect was handcuffed behind his back. He was placed in the backseat of the patrol car while the officer began investigating the situation. He learned that the suspect had an outstanding warrant through Forsyth County (unknown charge).
As the officer was walking back to his patrol car, he saw that the suspect had maneuvered his hands to the front and squeezed through the window of the cage of the patrol car. The suspect jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off with the patrol car at 1:57pm.
The movements of the patrol car were being monitored by the dispatcher in the 911 Center. She was able to give the responding officers real-time updates on the location of the car. The patrol car was found abandoned on a nearby golf course (Heritage Golf Links) at 2:06pm. As officers began saturating the area, they were told that the suspect had stolen a Ford F150 pickup truck from the maintenance building.
The suspect drove to the Taco Bell parking lot at 5518 Jimmy Carter Boulevard and stole a blue and silver pickup truck. After stealing the pickup truck, he fled to the north into the city of Duluth. It was reported that he committed several hit and runs in the Walmart parking lot on Pleasant Hill Road before traveling back southbound on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. Because a tablet (or other electronic device) was left in the stolen pickup truck, the victim was able to give updates on the suspect’s location.
While the officers were attempting to locate the suspect on the ground, the Gwinnett County Police helicopter was monitoring the suspect’s moves from the air. When the suspect was just south of Technology Parkway South on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, he caught up to the suspect and performed the PIT Maneuver. The truck swerved and eventually flipped onto its side in the median at 2:36pm.
The officers immediately called for an ambulance. The suspect was still handcuffed when he got out of the overturned pickup truck. He was conscious and alert. He was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center escorted by a police officer.
Right after the crash, both sides of Peachtree Industrial Boulevard were closed.
As of now, we believe the suspect committed about 6-8 hit and runs, though this number may change. The officers also believe that the box truck that he was in originally was a stolen vehicle. In all, 4 patrol cars were damaged during this criminal event.
The roadway was reopened around 5pm.
Police ay once the suspect is discharged from the hospital he will face multiple criminal charges for hit and run and stealing motor vehicles. His name is not being given at this time.
Gwinnett County Police Department reports it is currently working a significant event involving multiple stolen vehicles, including a GCPD patrol vehicle, and several hit and runs throughout the Norcross/Tucker/Duluth areas. The suspect has crashed at Peachtree Industrial Blvd at Campus Drive, shutting down Peachtree Industrial Blvd in that area.
If your commute home takes you down Peachtree Industrial, you may want to consider an alternative route. GCPD report the stolen police vehicle has been recovered.