March 11, 2016 12:37 pm
Updated: March 11, 2016 11:39 pm

Woman steals Vancouver Police car, crashes it into dollar store

WATCH: One woman has been arrested after a Vancouver Police Department cruiser was stolen, and ended up crashing through a dollar store in Burnaby. Nadia Stewart explains what happened and how police say the suspect was able to drive off in a marked police car.

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A woman was arrested early Friday morning after stealing a Vancouver Police car.

Two officers were at a call about a fight on Columbia Street and East Hastings Street at 1:30 a.m. Officers turned on their lights and siren, causing the aggressor to run away. They parked their car in the south lane of the 100 block of East Hastings street and ran after the man, ultimately arresting him around the corner, in the 100 block of East Hastings Street.

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When the officers returned a few minutes later, they found out that a woman had bypassed the police car’s immobilizer and stolen the car.

She drove down East Hastings Street to Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby, where she lost control.

The woman crashed the car into a Dollar Giant store. She took off running, but was arrested after a short foot chase. She was not injured in the crash.

“We’re still looking at exactly what happened with the vehicle,” said Sgt. Randy Fincham with the Vancouver Police Department. “This is one of our newer fleet vehicles, it’s one of the newer Dodge Chargers. These Chargers have an idle management system and an immobilizer inside the vehicle.”

“So we’re looking at whether it’s a training issue, whether it’s operator error, or there was [an issue] with that particular car to bypass that system and drive away. Traditionally what we’d see with all cars on the street – push button start vehicles that have a key fob activation, that when you get a certain distance away from that car and the car attempts to drive away it will shut down that vehicle. So we’re looking at this particular car, as well as the rest of the cars in our fleet to determine in this case, why that happened.”

Fincham said it could be that these officers jumped out of their car in the heat of the moment to break up a fight and the vehicle was just left open and running. He added the officers did nothing wrong and did not break protocol.

The 36-year-old woman is now facing charges of theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property.

The man involved in the initial fight has been arrested on a Canada-wide warrant for break-and-enter.

Burnaby RCMP are investigating the collision at East Hastings Street and Willingdon Avenue. Vancouver Police will be investigating the theft of the police vehicle.

Photos by Ryan Stelting:

© 2016 Shaw Media

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