Three teens picked the wrong time to allegedly steal vodka from a metro convenience store Saturday afternoon as law enforcement officers, already on alert due to the recent wave of convenience store robberies, quickly took them into custody.
No doubt the teen in the back of the sheriff's cruiser probably thought this was the worst day of his life and he may be right. Deputies say they caught him after a shoplifting incident at a convenience store was initially reported as a robbery.
"It came out as a robbery so we assume they are armed and dangerous until it is proven otherwise," said Douglas County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Rob Jones.
The Jeep the teen was allegedly driving was followed from the scene by a witness. The chase at times reached high speeds and wound through western Douglas County neighborhoods, but it was always dangerous.
"He drove the vehicle in a highly reckless manner," said Sgt. Jones. "They blew through red lights and at one point were going the wrong way on West Dodge Road, the entrance ramp."
The chase ended on the Elkhorn campus of Metro Community
College, but apparently not before a few laps around the campus.
The teens allegedly removed the front license plate and covered the rear one to keep their identities hidden. They weren't the armed robbers who have been terrorizing convenience stores and restaurants, but Sgt. Jones said this stop could be bigger than it appears.
"Hopefully, many tragedies were stopped tonight. Not only with the reckless driving, but certainly later tonight I'm sure with the consumption of alcohol and the aftermath of that we could have been facing multiple tragedies."
As far as the witness is concerned, deputies are thankful for his help, but say no one should follow a suspect from a scene. Just get as much information as possible and pass that on to the authorities.
There were three teens involved in the alleged shoplifting and chase. All were cited and released to their parents.