Police: Vanessa Brooks steals St. Petersburg police car, takes it to McDonald's in Tampa

11:02 AM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- A woman has been charged with vehicle burglary, auto theft, and leaving the scene of a crash after allegedly stealing a St. Petersburg police cruiser.

Two officers were responding to a domestic incident on Saturday when the theft occurred. One of the officers left the keys in the car and left the engine running, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.

While the officers were dealing with the domestic argument, Vanessa Brooks allegedly flagged down a nearby motorist, reached into the vehicle, and stole the person's cell phone. She then ran toward the police cruisers, got into one of them, backed it up into the other cruiser, and drove away.

The officers reportedly did not see the theft.

They discovered the cruiser missing at about 9:41 p.m. and alerted other units in the area. The stolen cruiser was spotted in a McDonald's parking lot on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa a short while later.

Brooks ran from the vehicle and was arrested a short distance away by Tampa police officers. She apparently left the transmission in gear before running from the vehicle, and the marked police cruiser backed itself into a tree.

Brooks remains in jail on $4,500 bond.

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