Man steals Kansas City police cruiser, abandons it near Pattonsburg

08/27/2014 7:34 AM

08/27/2014 8:18 PM

Authorities in northwest Missouri were conducting a manhunt Wednesday night for a man who stole a Kansas City police cruiser and later abandoned it about an hour’s drive north of the city.

A shotgun was missing from the vehicle when it was found along Interstate 35 near Pattonsburg in Daviess County, police said.

Missouri Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Jake Angle said the suspect, a 30-year-old Liberty man, is considered armed and dangerous.

The incident began about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday when officers were called to investigate a disturbance at a convenience store at 37th and Main streets.

Two officers responded in separate cars and talked to the man. When the officers turned their attention to a backpack the man had left on the ground, he jumped into one of the police cars.

The man reportedly mashed the gas pedal to the floor while the vehicle was in park. One officer reached in to try to grab the keys or prevent the man from shifting into drive, according to police.

But the man put the vehicle in gear and sped away. The officers pursued in the second police car, but the man eluded them.

Police spoke to the man on the police radio for a time. A citizen later found the car abandoned.

A police spokesman said the shotgun had been secured in the vehicle by a locking device that the man somehow figured out.

The Missouri Highway Patrol is coordinating the search with authorities in Daviess County.

The suspect is described as white, 5 foot 10 and about 170 pounds with brown hair, a mustache and a goatee. He was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt and khaki shorts.

Troopers issued a public safety alert, advising area residents to remove keys from their vehicles and to make sure residences are secure.

School authorities with the South Harrison R-II School District in Bethany, Mo., said high school, middle school, elementary school and early childhood center students were not in a formal lockdown, but officials were aware of the Highway Patrol’s warning.

A spokeswoman for Superintendent Dennis Eastin said students were not allowed to go between buildings on the school’s campus because of safety concerns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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