Suspected Thief Was Cuffed in Police SUV. Then She Stole It

Toscha Sponsler crashed after 23-minute chase: cops
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2017 2:49 PM CDT

It's not often police embark on a high-speed chase of their own vehicle, but that's exactly what happened in Texas on Saturday. After receiving a call about a possible shoplifter at a beauty supply store, the Lufkin Police Department says officers chased down 33-year-old Toscha Sponsler, handcuffed her, then placed her in the back of a police SUV. But that's not where the suspect stayed. Officers say video from inside the vehicle shows Sponsler slipping out of her handcuffs, undoing her seat belt, and climbing into the driver's seat through a partition opening. The department tells KYTX she nearly backed into two officers who were behind the vehicle searching a backpack and purse, then drove away.

Video footage allegedly shows Sponsler swerving to avoid a spike strip thrown onto the road by an officer, per NBC News. Officers say Sponsler also narrowly avoided officers and vehicles as she reached speeds up to 100mph. All the while, she was fumbling with a device that kept an officer's shotgun locked inside the vehicle, police say. After a 23-minute chase, Sponsler crashed into a tree and light pole and was again arrested, police tell KTRE. Sponsler, who escaped the crash unscathed, remained in Angelina County Jail on Tuesday facing charges of escape with the threat of a deadly weapon, aggravated assault, unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of methamphetamine, and evading arrest, KTRE reports. (More weird crimes stories.)

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