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Stolen car leads to chase then crash

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Posted at 6:01 PM, Sep 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 13:58:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY - A tow truck sat parked in a bank parking lot, reeling in an SUV Wednesday morning.

It sat no longer driveable, thanks to a blown out tire. But if that hadn't happened, a man might still be on the run.

Unified Police Detective Jared Richardson said the SUV disappeared out of the owner's driveway near Trolley Square in Salt Lake City between 7 and 7:30 Wednesday morning.

"That owner left the keys in the vehicle and went into the house for a moment," he said, explaining how the suspect gained such easy entry into the SUV.

A couple hours later, employees at a Murray gym off of Van Winkle Drive noticed the car.

The employees didn't know the vehicle was stolen, but they said the man driving it was acting strange.

Employees told FOX 13 off camera they watched him walk up and down the isles, peering into cars.

He re-parked his car a couple of times.

An off-duty officer happened to be working out inside.

"He was contacted by the employees," Det. Richardson said. "Our officer then ran that plate and it came back stolen."

The man took off. The officer followed, and called in backup.

"That driver, suspect, became aware that he was kind of being followed," Det. Richardson said.

Then, a chase. That's where the blown tire comes in.

Police threw down spikes. The suspect crashed in a bank parking lot on the corner of Fort Union Boulevard and South 2300 East.

Richardson said the man tried to make his last chance at a getaway.

He ran over to a nearby storage unit complex and jumped the fence.

"He ran around a few times in that storage unit, trying to figure out how to get out of there," he said.

The man almost found a way. A car sat parked, running, in the complex. The owner stood a few feet away. He didn't let the man take off with his car.

"As the owner saw him jump in the vehicle and the suspect was trying to drive away with it, the owner jumped in the vehicle with him and it started an altercation inside the vehicle." Det. Richardson said. "The vehicle did move forward, did strike part of the storage units, damaging the vehicle."

No one was hurt. Police nabbed the man, later identified as 25-year old Elliott Hanson.Hanson-Elliott-K

He said Hanson could face up to ten charges, a few of those felonies.

He said it's thanks to those alert employees.

"We want to applaud them," he said.

Not to mention the off-duty officer jumping in to help.