A woman stole a police cruiser in Camden this morning, took police on a wild chase across the Ben Franklin Bridge and into North Philadelphia, where she crashed, ran away, then stole a second cruiser before police could arrest her.
"I've never heard of anybody stealing two police cars in the same incident," said Deputy Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard J. Ross Jr.
Ross called it: "Bold, reckless, and absolutely brazen."
The woman, who smashed multiple vehicles during the chase, was finally apprehended after police surrounded the stolen Philadelphia police cruiser. She was taken into custody on the 1100 block of North Hope Street in Northern Liberties. A man was involved in the initial car theft in Camden, police said.
According to police and scanner reports, the following occurred:
Shortly before 10 a.m., a Camden police officer pulled over a Jeep for a motor vehicle violation at Haddon Avenue and Federal Street. The stop was near the police administration building.
"During the course of the stop, while the officer was outside his vehicle, two suspects entered the police cruiser and pulled off, striking the officer with the police vehicle," said Camden City spokesman Robert Corrales.
The officer suffered a leg injury and was taken to nearby Cooper Hospital, Camden where he is in in stable condition, authorities said.
Meanwhile, police gave chase to the fleeing man and woman as they headed toward the Ben Franklin Bridge and into Philadelphia. As they did, the Delaware River Port Authority notified Philadelphia police that the stolen car was headed their way. New Jersey State Police also joined the pursuit.
The woman, with the man in the vehicle, made it over the bridge with police in pursuit. The duo crashed the car at 7th and Norris streets in North Philadelphia. They then fled on foot. As police were trying to arrest the pair, the woman jumped in a nearby Philadelphia police cruiser at 5th and Clearfield Streets about a mile from where the car crashed.
The woman was taken into custody by East Detectives. Her name has not yet been released. It was unclear what happened to the male involved in the initial police car theft in Camden.
The Camden police cruiser took on multiple dents on the driver's side. The stolen Philadelphia police cruiser had severe front end damage.
Rocco Avallone, 27, a graphic designer, who lives in an apartment in Northern Liberties, was online at the time the police were giving chase and saw a posting about it. He looked on Philly.com and saw the woman was apprehended on his block.
"I was in my apartment and heard a bunch of commotion," Avallone said.
But by the time he got outside, the woman was already in police custody.
"I never saw the woman, just the crashed car and all the police still talking about it."
Check back for details as they develop.