Alert cops spot ‘rolling stolen’ car near Woodstock

When he discovered he’d been spotted, the driver of the stolen car sped through three neighborhoods trying to make a getaway. See how far he got …

The driver of this stolen car stopped and calmly surrendered – but only after spike strips shredded the tires and a police SUV blocked his path.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Police officers on patrol learn to be multi-task; they listen for calls, respond to citizens who hail them, keep an eye out for suspicious activity – and in this case, spot a car reported stolen.

On December 2, Portland Police Bureau SE Precinct Officer Daniels thought he saw a car that matched the description of a vehicle stolen from southwest Portland on November 24. He checked the license plate; it was, indeed, the purloined car.

Minutes before 11:00 a.m., Daniels noticed the car in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood, just southeast of Woodstock, heading eastbound on SE Flavel Street near SE 60th Avenue.

An officer photographs the stolen car; the only damage appeared to be the flattened tires.

“The vehicle continued east,” said police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz, “and turned north on SE 92nd Avenue.

“At SE 92nd and SE Woodstock Boulevard, officers threw a spike stick that punctured the driver’s-side tires on the vehicle.”

But the car didn’t stop – continuing past S.E. Holgate and Powell Boulevards, and S.E. Division –  before finally grinding to a halt at S.E. Clay Street.

“The driver is being compliant,” we heard reported on the police radio. “He is lying down outside the vehicle.”

cop who took the lead in the chase, Officer Daniels, questions the passenger who was riding in the stolen car.

Schmautz said police took 32-year-old Joseph Dennis Cunningham into custody. Cunningham’s record shows he’s been suspected of robbery, forgery, and property crimes – but this adventure earned him these charges: Attempt to Elude, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, Reckless Endangerment, Reckless Driving and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.

“It’s a good day,” Daniels said. “We have two in custody, (the driver and a passenger who was detained) and no one was hurt.”

Police say this man, 32-year-old Joseph Dennis Cunningham, finally gave up the chase after the tires were flattened with spike strips.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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