Man Driving Stolen Car Stopped by DPS -- So He Punched Officer in Face and Stole Patrol Car; Suspect Still Loose

A man driving a stolen car was stopped by a Department of Public Safety officer this afternoon. Apparently unhappy he was about to go down for stealing a car, he punched the officer in the face and stole the cop's DPS car, too

DPS spokesman Bart Graves tells New Times that earlier this afternoon, an officer with the department's stolen vehicle task force located a stolen vehicle north of Casa Grande near a rest stop along Interstate 10.

The officer pulled over the car and tried to arrest the suspect. He didn't go quietly.

Graves says a scuffle took place as the officer was trying to arrest the man. It ended when the suspect punched the officer in the face, took off in his patrol car, and drove into the desert.

DPS officers responded to the scene of the cop-carjacking and found the cruiser near a canal in the desert about three-quarters-of-a-mile from the highway. The suspect was not with the cop car.

The suspect has not yet been found, but police helicopters and canine units are searching the area.

No description of the suspect has been provided.

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