Man held after wild car-theft spree near Denver


GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) - What began as a traffic stop quickly devolved into a midday crime spree, during which a man wielding a rifle in one hand and a handgun in the other waved them wildly at cars driving down a highway, burst through a closed garage door in a stolen SUV and attempted to steal a state dump truck, all as a news helicopter watched from above.

The nearly two-hour drama ended Wednesday when a deputy wrestled him to the pavement on a highway west of Denver, ripping his shirt as he took him down.

No major injuries were reported in the chase. No names have been released.

The string of car thefts began when a car with a man and a girl inside fled during a traffic stop, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said. The deputy did not pursue them because of department policy.

Over the next hour and 40 minutes, one or both of the pair were allegedly involved in hijacking a car with two people inside, stealing a pickup from in front of a house and swiping an SUV by crashing it through a closed garage door, officials said.

One of the vehicles became mired in mud and the others crashed, authorities said.

The man also tried to steal two dump trucks and a pickup from a state highway department yard.

The girl separated from the man and was taken into custody first.

Helicopter video then shows the lone man waving a rifle at vehicles on Interstate 70. One vehicle slowed down but then sped off.

A deputy on a motorcycle ordered the man to drop his weapons and then wrestled him to the ground with the help of at least one passer-by.

Deputies fired weapons at some point, but it was not immediately clear whether the suspect did, the sheriff's department said.

A similar scene played out on Denver-area TV screens in March, when a man stole an SUV with a 4-year-old boy inside and carjacked two other vehicles before striking a state trooper. The boy was unharmed, but the trooper was seriously injured.