Shoplifting suspect slips handcuffs and steals police car

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A shoplifting suspect evaded law enforcement in America by slipping off handcuffs, stealing a police car and leading officers on a chase with speeds up to 100mph.

Toscha Fay Sponsler was arrested on Saturday 2 September in Angelina County in Texas after she was suspected of shoplifting. As officers went through her back of potential stolen goods, Sponsler wriggled free of her seat belt and then handcuffs. An officer had left the partition open to Sponsler to receive air conditioning and also speak with her through the course of the investigation.

The shoplifting suspect slipped off her handcuffs before stealing a police car. Picture: Lufkin Police Department

The shoplifting suspect slipped off her handcuffs before stealing a police car. Picture: Lufkin Police Department

However, she casually climbed through into the front seat before speeding off. The incident was captured by the vehicle’s camera and released by Lufkin Police Department on their Facebook page.

The 33-year-old led the police on a 23-minute car chase throughout the county, avoiding a spike strip on the road, before she was forced off the road with numerous officers in pursuit.

It didn’t finish there as Sponsler with the police department saying officers saw here reach for a shotgun which was locked in the car. Officers smashed the window of the vehicle and apprehended Sponsler before handcuffing her for a second time.

The police department said: “Sponsler led units down Loop 287 to 69 south, nearly colliding head-on with two Lufkin officers, Constable Chad Wilson and numerous motorists. Officers saw her continually reaching for/fumbling with the officer’s shotgun, which is mechanically locked inside the vehicle.”

As of Tuesday afternoon Sponsler remained in county jail on a collective bond of $18,000 for a range of charges.

The police department wrote on their Facebook page: “Sponsler is charged with escape causing serious bodily injury/threat of a deadly weapon, aggravated assault against a public servant, possession of a controlled substance, evading arrest with a vehicle with a previous conviction and unauthorised use of a vehicle. Additional charges are pending.”

Local reports say that when Sponsler drove off the road the car hit a tree with a medical unit called to the scene. However, Sponsler declined further medical treatment.

The police department has now installed new partitions in their vehicles.

Lufkin Police Assistant Chief David Thomas said: “We are fortunate that no one was hurt during the incident. Although we haven’t had anything like this happen in the past, we will conduct an internal investigation to review the incident for training or tactical deficiencies.”