The Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force, had a known car theft suspect under surveillance early Thursday morning in the San Tan Valley, which is in the very southeastern portion of the Valley of the Sun. The suspect, who remains unidentified at this time, was seen driving a blue Ford pickup truck, and according to information received by investigators, was armed and dangerous.
When officers tried to pull over the suspect, he tried to escape. Unfortunately for the suspected car thief, when he engaged in a shootout with officers in the parking lot of a park, he made a big mistake.
Bart Grave, DPS spokesman, stated the suspect was shot and wounded in the shootout and was transported to a local hospital. His condition is unknown at this time. Fortunately, no officers were injured in the shootout.
The shootout happened in a parking lot of a park near Circle Cross Ranch School, near Empire Boulevard and Gary Road in San Tan Valley, and took place around 7:00 a.m. Michael Ranney, who lives next to the park, said, had the shootout taken place one hour later, students would be headed to the elementary school nearby. “Thank God there were no kids,” he said.
DPS oversees the state’s vehicle theft task force. However, several agencies are part of the task force, which is also known as RATTLER, Regional Auto Theft Team Law Enforcement Response. The task force was established in January 1997 and since that time, the agency has recovered more than 30,300 vehicles valued at more than $323 million.
Original story found here.