Texas Man steals GBC police car - police car tires shot out, vehicle crashes into lake

By Brad Bennett 07/07/05

Police usually don't shoot at their own cars - but handcuffed suspects usually don't steal them either.

Alfred Richards, 39, of Gun Barrel City must have decided being placed in a police cruiser, handcuffed and under arrest, didn't mean he needed to go to jail.

After his arrest for burglary of a habitation on Monday, Richards was put in the back of a GBPD cruiser while officers finished the paper work outside.

Richards took advantage of being left alone and, "managed to get his hands in front of him and climb into the driver seat of the patrol unit," according to a GBPD press release.

"Richards then put the patrol unit into reverse as officers ordered him to stop." Richards disobeyed.

Officer Billy Kilgore opened the driver door of the cruiser to try to get Richards out, but to no avail.

Kilgore responded by firing four shots at his own cruiser. They punctured his tires. But Richards escaped.

The officers, in hot pursuit in another car, lost sight of Richards.

He ended up in the East Wood Isle subdivision.

When they caught up to the unit, they discovered that Richards had driven the cruiser into Cedar Creek Lake.

The address was 158 Seaside drive.

"It hung up on an embankment and only the front was in," Investigator Judie Burley explained. "It wasn't submerged."

He was finally caught, with the help of residents on Ocean Drive, who had seen him running away on their street.

"He was running to the lake like he was going to jump in," Burley said.

Before he took off into the murky camouflage of Cedar Creek Lake, Burley and Kilgore managed to catch him and put him back into custody.

Kilgore had first spotted Richards operating a sitting lawn mower behind Legendary Baptist Church in Gun Barrel.

He was arrested for burglary of habitation, escape from custody, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He is being held at Henderson County Jail on a $75,000 bond.

"Please express our thanks to the citizens in East Wood Isle and the citizens who assisted with the Burglary of Habitation," the release said.

"Gun Barrel City Police is proud to report that no officers, civilians or suspects were injured during this incident. Furthermore the victim's property was recovered and returned to its rightful owner."

Richards is accused of stealing a Murry riding lawn mower, complete with a video cassette recorder, and some tools.

The property was identified by Ivan Thayer of Gun Barrel City, before Richards was originally placed in custody.

The stolen police cruiser sustained damage but Burley said the cost has not yet been determined.

Richards did not threaten any civilians, despite running away from officers and reportedly trying to run over Kilgore.

"He was just too busy trying to get away from us," she said.