Video shows suspect stealing Riverdale police car

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:28 PM

Bubba Brown

RIVERDALE — Police have released the dash-cam footage of the man who wriggled out of his cuffs in the back seat of a police cruiser, maneuvered into the front seat, stole the car and led officers on a two-county chase.

Riverdale police were called the morning of June 15 to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store, 4978 S. 1050 West, on reports of a male and female who were possibly intoxicated. When they arrived and found the pair stumbling around, appearing to be high on drugs, they handcuffed Gordon Graham, 35, and placed him in the back of a police cruiser while they searched his vehicle.

After Graham complained of heat, an officer opened the sliding window separating the back and front seats.

That’s when Graham seized his opportunity. As the dash-cam footage shows, Graham gets his hands in front of him by working his hands underneath his body and sliding his legs through his arms. Pausing every so often to check that the coast is clear, he then somehow works his hands free from the cuffs. Near the end of the video, Graham dives head first through the sliding window. Within 30 seconds, he drives away, just as officers saw that he had slipped into the driver’s seat.

As Graham drives off, another angle in the video shows, he narrowly misses hitting an officer, who lunges out of the way of the vehicle at the last moment. The video ends as Graham takes the car over a steep berm and onto the road.

Graham lost the police, who had to scramble to get into another police car, but was later spotted in the Clinton-Roy area, where he’d abandoned the police cruiser. After a roughly two-hour search, police finally caught and arrested him.

Graham pleaded guilty to, and was sentenced to prison for, four felonies: theft by receiving stolen property and theft, both second-degree charges, and two third-degree counts of shoplifting.

The video footage was released after the Standard-Examiner filed a records release request with Riverdale City under the Government Records Access and Management Act.

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