Police: Man who escaped handcuffs, stole police car was high on heroin

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 15, 2013

RIVERDALE, Utah – Authorities in Riverdale said a series of burglaries and thefts caught up with a couple from Saratoga Springs on Saturday when one of them stole a police car.

Lt. James Ebert of Riverdale police said the soon to be married duo began their crime spree Friday when they stole a truck in Draper. Ebert said the couple, Gordon Graham and Celeste Hart,  then broke into three cars parked outside of a Smith’s Food and Drug store in Davis County early Saturday morning.

It wasn’t until they pulled next to a fabric store at 1050 West and River Park Drive in Riverdale that police were alerted to them.

“We had an officer that responded to a report of two suspicious individuals,” Ebert said.

Three officers arrived and discovered a long list of stolen property.

“Various stereo equipment, some credit cards, clothing, items like that,” Ebert said.

As two of the officers searched the truck, the other placed Graham in custody in the back of a police SUV, and that is when Ebert said the rap sheet grew.

“The subject either had apparently very small wrists and was able to slide out of the handcuffs, or had a handcuff key stashed away,” Ebert said.

Ebert said Graham jumped in the front seat of the car and drove over a median and onto the road. He allegedly drove several miles before abandoning the car and fleeing on foot.

Ebert said several agencies responded to the area in hopes of taking the suspect into custody before something more dangerous occurred.

“There’s equipment in the car,” he said. “There’s a firearm in the car. There’s communication in the car. There`s access to personal information in the car through the MBT system. Now, again, all of that is protected through either passwords or locks, but those are the concerns that we would have.”

Police established a perimeter after someone reported seeing the abandoned car, and several hours later Graham was located.

Ebert said the couple was high on heroin at the time of their arrest, and they could face charges for theft, burglary and drugs. Graham could also be charged with avoiding apprehension and aggravated assault. Ebert said as he drove away, the man nearly ran into an officer on scene.

A police officer fired a single shot at the police car as Graham drove it away. The shot did not hit or injure anyone. That officer has been put on paid leave pending an investigation, which is standard procedure whenever an officer is involved in a shooting.