Authorities in Ray and Clay counties are looking for a 33-year-old man who they believe stole a police squad car in Lawson, Mo.
The incident happened just after 1 p.m. Wednesday. The patrol car was found a short time later, several blocks away.
It started when police officers approached a man, later identified as Patrick T. Smith, who is a registered sex offender.
Smith, who was being sought on a felony warrant, reportedly ran as the officers approached him. The officers chased Smith on foot. At some point, Smith allegedly managed to jump into their squad car and drive about three blocks.
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The patrol car was abandoned at Clark Street and Park Lane Circle, and the driver ran away, according to Jon Bazzano, a spokesman with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
The officers called for additional help, and schools were immediately placed on lockdown. Smith has a history of being armed.
Smith served five years in a Missouri prison after pleading guilty in January 2007 to first-degree child molestation involving a 13-year-old girl, according to Clay County court records.
Authorities said Smith lives in Kansas City, Kan., but frequently visits friends in Lawson. He’s about 5-foot-8 and weighs about 170 pounds.
School officials in Lawson reported that they were not releasing students on buses. Parents are encouraged to pick up their children from schools.
Anyone with information should call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).