SEATTLE – A police officer had his patrol car stolen Thursday by a handcuffed burglary suspect who had been put in the back seat.
"It's very embarrassing for the officer," police spokeswoman Renee Witt said. "We're just lucky the shotgun and none of the other equipment was taken."
The patrol car was abandoned shortly after the suspect took off about 2 a.m. He was recaptured — still in handcuffs — about four hours later near his home in south Seattle.
The 33-year-old suspect, who name was not released, had been caught with electronics during a break-in at Wing Luke Elementary School, police said.
He was cuffed behind his back and placed in the patrol car. He managed to maneuver his hands in front of him then slide through a partition to the front seat of the car while the officer was away for a minute, police said.
The partition is often cracked open for ventilation, Witt said.
"He's obviously a small man to get through there, and handcuffed on top of that," she said.
Charges have not yet been filed.
Witt said it was not unheard of for a suspect to steal a patrol car from an officer.
"Hopefully, the other officers won't razz him too much because — it happens," Witt said.