Woman takes joy ride in police cruiser - FOX 13 News

Woman takes joy ride in police cruiser

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A St. Pete police cruiser was on the wrong side of the Bay Saturday night, but not because a cop drove it there.

It made its way to Kennedy Avenue in Tampa because it was stolen.

Investigators say two officers responded to a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex on 62nd Avenue South in St. Pete.

They say the officers parked their cars in a driveway and went to investigate.

That's when eyewitnesses say a third person, who's not in law enforcement, decided they wanted to take a ride.

"I saw two cruisers sitting there and I saw the girl," said eyewitness Cledis Jackson.  "She just walked up, got in the car, I guess she accidentally put it in reverse and hit the other police car and pulled off and drove right by them."

Investigators say the "girl" in this case is 22-year-old Vanessa Brooks.

They say on Saturday she flagged down a man driving a truck on 62nd Avenue South in St. Pete.

Somehow she was able to steal that man's cell phone and apparently ran towards the apartment complex on 62nd, where two St. Pete cops were responding to that domestic disturbance.

Investigators say one of the officers did not turn off his car or lock his door; that's when they say Brooks made her move.

Eyewitnesses say the officers were so busy with their work they didn't notice the car was gone.

"She was gone maybe, 20, 30 minutes, before they even realized it," said Jackson. "I guess they were back there doing their job, or what have you, and they weren't looking."

Police found the cruiser in the parking lot of the McDonald's on Kennedy just before 10 p.m.

Brooks was cuffed and will soon face charges.

Police said the car was left unlocked and running because one of the officers saw a heated dispute and rushed to intervene.

No one was hurt and the man who saw the whole thing go down says this proves crime doesn't discriminate.

"I guess it could have happened to anybody," said Jackson.

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