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Crime & Courts

Handcuffed Texas theft suspect escapes makes off with squad car

A theft suspect left alone in a squad car managed to roll down a window, open the car door and drive off with the vehicle, leaving police in one North Texas town still scrambling to find him three days later.

Dash cam video from another vehicle caught 41-year-old Darren Porter getting out of the backseat of a car in White Settlement, west of Fort Worth.

Police had detained Porter Friday morning, on accusations that he had broken into an antiques shop. He was handcuffed and placed into the back of a Ford Crown Victoria police car, police said.

Squad cars are supposed to have the window switches in the back of the car disabled, but not this one, Lt. J.P. Bevering said Monday morning. Porter was able to roll down the window, reach out and open the door. Dash cam video shows him climbing into the driver's seat and taking off.

The car was found abandoned at a nearby apartment complex, Bevering said. Porter remained at large Monday.

"He's known to us because we've dealt with him several times," Bevering said.

Kenny Boone, owner of Texas Gas Antiques & Collectibles, said he was meeting with police inside when he saw an officer running across his parking lot.

"Of course, they all jumped in their cars," Boone said. "They were all scrambling to their vehicles to chase him."

White Settlement police arrested Porter as recently as April on an assault charge. According to online court records, he pleaded guilty to a different charge and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Porter has a criminal history dating back more than two decades that includes arrests for several burglaries and thefts.

He did not have a working phone number listed.

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