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July 26, 2019

www.chicagotribune.com

A Chicago man accused of stealing a red Bridgeview Fire Department SUV caused a brief standoff in the Loop on Thursday afternoon when he refused to surrender after leading authorities on a nearly 15-mile pursuit.

Chicago police surrounded the vehicle, preventing it from moving, but the suspect refused to open the door, said Bridgeview police spokesman Ray Hanania.

Officers were forced to shatter the driver’s side passenger window behind him, so as not to injure him with glass, Hanania said. The man was taken into custody about 12:15 p.m. police said.

No one was inside the red “personal command vehicle’’ as it idled outside the firehouse at 100th Place, just west of Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview, when the 52-year-old Chicago man jumped into it shortly after 11 a.m., slipping past security restraints, and began driving away, Hanania said.

Burbank police gave chase after apparently becoming the first to spot the SUV as the thief cruised past 87th Street and Harlem in the suburb, just east of Bridgeview.

When the driver crossed the border into Chicago, police enlisted the help of their helicopter to track him as he sped through the 7100 block of South Stoney Island Avenue, in the Hyde Park neighborhood, and then entered northbound Lake Shore Drive.

After he passed through at least two Chicago police districts, authorities finally curbed him about noon at Lake Shore Drive and Monroe Street, near Grant Park, a Chicago police spokeswoman said.

Chicago police arrested the man, but as of 5 p.m. he had been transferred to Bridgeview police custody, according to Hanania.

Police did not offer more details about him or the charges.

“Emergency responder vehicles are often left running to allow first responders to respond as fast as possible to emergency calls,’’ Hanania said in an email. “There is a security system in place to prevent them from moving, and I am not sure the system was compromised by the suspect.”

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