Updated:CENTER TOWNSHIP, Pa. —
Investigators say a woman who was detained on shoplifting suspicions somehow managed to climb through a police cruiser’s glass partition and speed away while remaining handcuffed.
What followed was a high-speed chase, with speeds reaching over 100 mph, through several small towns located about 40 miles outside of Pittsburgh.
According to police in Center Township, Beaver County, a security guard first stopped Roxanne Rimer, 27, at a Kohl’s for suspected shoplifting.
Police say she then pushed a security guard and ran out of the store to her grandfather's car.
Investigators said she told her grandfather and mother, who was the passenger in the car, to drive away. When they wouldn't, she put her foot on the gas, and the car went over a hillside. Police arrived and then put Rimer in handcuffs, but they say that's when she continued to act defiantly.
"The officers take her - who's out of control - handcuff her behind her back and put her in one of the police cars,” said Center Township Police Chief Barry Kramer.
Kramer said Rimer somehow climbed through the 11.5” X 12.25” glass partition to the driver’s seat and put the cruiser in gear. She reportedly rammed into multiple vehicles, including another police vehicle, as she led officers on a high-speed chase through Beaver County.
“With her back turned and her hands cuffed behind her back, she manages to put it in gear and drive. And from what we can gather, she drove at very high speeds with that position somehow manipulating the gears and steering the wheel. Thank God, no one else was hurt,” said Kramer. “She put a lot of lives in danger.”
According to Kramer, Rimer drove down Route 51 at 100 mph for nearly 10 miles with her hands behind her back. Kramer said the cruiser’s light and sirens were on the entire ride, which he believes likely saved a lot of lives.
“I'm sure there were people on the road thinking, ‘What kind of police officer is this?’ But at least folks got out of the way and weren't injured,” he said.
Rimer eventually ditched the cruiser and got a ride from another driver.
"She then either jumped out of that vehicle or the vehicle dropped her off in Aliquippa, and Aliquippa police picked her up still in handcuffs,” said Kramer.
Rimer now faces a list of charges, including aggravated assault.
Kramer said they found suspected heroin needles on her.
When Channel 11’s Courtney Brennan questioned Rimer about stealing the police cruiser, she responded, “I don’t remember nothing. I don't remember anything but being in the back of a police car."
Channel 11 learned that Rimer is a mother of two, who has lost custody of both children. She also has two prior theft charges against her in Center Township.