Handcuffed Suspect Breaks Free, Steals Police Car In Indiana

UPDATED 01/11/12 5:10 p.m.

KOUTS, Ind. (CBS) — A manhunt continued Wednesday for a fugitive who escaped from custody while handcuffed and stole a police squad car full of weapons in northwest Indiana.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, William Blankenship III, 22, stole a cruiser full of weapons while the police officer who arrested him was in a convenience store, even though Blankenship was handcuffed in the back of the car.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

By 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the police car had been found in a small pond in southern LaPorte County, south of State Route 8 near LaCrosse, Ind. Blanklenship was not in the vehicle.

“The road was a 90 degree turn and it looks like he didn’t where he was at and was driving at a high rate of speed and hit the brakes and went right into the ditch,” Kouts Police Chief James Boyce said.

The car has been towed away, and investigators say all the weapons that were inside have been recovered.

“He somehow stole the police car,” said Porter County, Ind., Sheriff’s police Sgt. Larry LaFlower. “That is currently under investigation how that happened.”

It almost seems like it’s right out of a movie. Blankenship was handcuffed when police say he somehow escaped from the back of the squad car, got into the driver’s seat, and drove off.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, it all went down around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A Kouts police officer had made a traffic stop and arrested Blankenship on drug charges after spotting heroin and methamphetamine paraphernalia in his car.

While the officer was examining the car in a convenience store parking lot, Blankenship stole the police car and drove away.

Authorities say they had one brief encounter with Blankenship after he fled. He apparently radioed police for help in finding the car’s cigarette lighter and key to unlock his handcuffs.

“He was wanting a cigarette, wanting to know where the handcuff keys were so that he could get the handcuffs off of him, basically wanted to see his 2-month-old son,” Boyce said.

But about 45 minutes after the first radio contact was made, all communication between Blankenship and police stopped. Police believe that’s when he crashed into the pond.

Even though he was handcuffed, Blankenship managed to escape the vehicle while it was in the pond.

Police said Blankenship then walked to a nearby farmhouse to ask for help.

“A man was at the house looking for a pair of bolt cutters to get him out of his handcuffs and … basically said they didn’t want to get involved with anything like that,” Boyce said.

After he was denied help, Blankenship somehow made it to his hometown of Knox, Ind., and stopped by his wife’s home.

She declined to go on camera, but angrily said her husband should help himself by giving up.

Blankenship has been arrested several times in the past for drug offenses.

  • Toonces

    I suppose they explained to him how to unlock the handcuffs, too?

    • Diane Ri

      the officer made a huge mistake in handcuffing the guy in front instead of his hands being in back of him-STUPID!

  • Hoth Industries

    dumb@ss Kouts cop: Doo-dee-doo… call dispatch, log arrest OH! Family Express! I needs me some coffee and doughnuts! i thinks the suspect will be fine while I run in and leave the car engine running just for a sec.

  • That's Hoosiertainment!

    I tip my seed cap to Mayberry’s finest.

  • And This Advice

    For subsequent generations of Blankenships, if your facial hair is sparse. DON’T GROW FEATURE HAIR.You’ll just look methy.

  • Better Advice

    Don’t grow facial hair! And proofread, proofread, proofread.

  • missy

    What a wigger

  • http://topicpls.com/ontheloose-handcuffed-man-steals-police-car-still-hasnt-been-caught/ #OntheLoose :: Handcuffed man steals police car, still hasn’t been caught « News « TopicPls

    […] Handcuffed Suspect Breaks Free, Steals Police Car In Indiana … […]

  • FunnyAsHell

    I sat with this kid back in December 2011 at Cook County for a night and he seemed like a cool enough dude who had a drug problem and was trying to kick his habit so he could be a father to his new baby! Well apparently that habit wasn’t attempted to be kicked and this white boy aka One Bag in cook county jail will not be seeing his baby for quite a while… Freaking dummy!

  • Afro

    while the police officer who arrested him was in a convenience store

    While the officer was examining the car in a convenience store parking lot

    lousey reporting here

    • Afro

      stole a cruiser full of weapons while the police officer who arrested him was in a convenience store,

      While the officer was examining the car in a convenience store parking lot, Blankenship stole the police car

      How many did he steal? I figure just one dam with this lousey reporting job how do we even know the car was stolen? It looks to me as if the Officer left it running and left blankinship in charge of it. Hell he don’t even know where he was when his car left the parking lot!

  • tom Sharp

    Again, smart people don’t become police officers. This cop has future police administrator written all over him

  • http://www.s10forum.com/forum/f42/cop-car-gets-stolen-crook-asks-for-cigarette-lighter-486513/#post7692446 Cop car gets stolen, crook asks for cigarette lighter - S-10 Forum

    […] for cigarette lighter GA_googleFillSlot("S10forum_com_300x250_Postbit_AUTO_Forum"); http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/01/…ar-in-indiana/ […]

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/01/13/suspect-who-broke-free-stole-police-car-surrenders/ Suspect Who Broke Free, Stole Police Car, Surrenders « CBS Chicago

    […] Blankenship was originally arrested after police found heroin and methamphetamine paraphernalia in h… […]

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