A brazen thief took North Carolina police officers on a frenetic three-hour chase in what appeared to be a real-life version of the Grand Theft Auto video game, footage shows.
Tyler Harding, 26, stole four cars and fell twice during the long daylight chase that began in Charlotte on Wednesday as he sped onto sidewalks, weaved dangerously through traffic and blew through multiple stoplights, according to police and videos.
At one point, a brave but misguided vigilante in a pickup truck rear-rams Harding’s stolen truck – but only manages to disable his own vehicle, footage from WSOC-TV.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is now facing questions about why it took so long to stop Harding and why no emergency alerts were sent to residents, but Police Chief Johnny Jennings said officers did not initially pursue because there was no “life-threatening.” Crime”.
“It’s unusual for a vehicle to continue to drive erratically after we move away from that vehicle,” Jennings told reporters at a news conference this week.
“But in this case, as you have seen, that person continued to drive erratically and put the lives of our citizens at risk.”
A police helicopter never lost sight of the suspect or stolen vehicles, and none of the thefts were auto thefts, but involved the thief hopping into empty, running cars, Jennings added.
The chase began at 10 a.m. Wednesday when police responded to a burglary and burglary call, in which a local resident reported her Jeep had been stolen, according to police. They used a GPS tracker to locate the Jeep at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Charlotte, but Harding fled when approached by officers, according to a press release.
Harding was spotted dropping the stolen Jeep and jumping into a stolen white pickup truck with his sister, 28-year-old Christa Harding, police said. They crossed through South Carolina but turned back after a local sheriff’s deputy tried to stop them, the publication said.
Back in Charlotte, they went into a Walmart parking lot and again switched vehicles, cops and video show. A shirtless Harding wearing a wide-brimmed hat jumps out of the truck and steals a Toyota Corolla that had been left in the parking lot, cops said.
He sped off, leaving behind his sister, who authorities said was flagged for owning a stolen vehicle.
But Harding’s botched escape had only just begun. He crashed head-on into a car that was stopped at a traffic light on Johnson Road and abandoned the Toyota. He briefly attempts to pull out the driver of the damaged car, but scoots and hops into a black infinity, the driver of which jumped out to see if anyone was injured in the crash, according to WSOC videos and reports.
It was only then that the police decided to intervene because they thought someone might have been in the vehicle in a hostage situation, the boss later said. But before the wild chase ends, a gray pickup truck takes the law into its own hands and rams the Infinity from behind.
The would-be vigilante’s car comes to a halt after being obstructed, and the driver was later fined for not having a driver’s license, police officers said.
Harding is seen blowing through a red light and t-boning another vehicle at about 1:30 p.m. at the end of the accident. He jumps out of the car with his hands up before cops ambush him.
He already had felony charges for evading arrest in Texas, WSOC reported.
He now faces a range of charges, including three counts of vehicle theft, and police may press further charges. When he first appeared in court Friday, his bail was increased from $115,000 to $800,000, according to the WSOC.
https://nypost.com/2022/07/08/north-carolina-man-steals-cars-crashes-in-3-hour-police-chase/ North Carolina man steals car and crashes in 3-hour police chase