Police car thief slammed

Published 12:15 am Thursday, March 31, 2011

The act of stealing a vehicle is often bad enough. Add to that the act of then stealing a police car after you’ve been arrested, and you’ve got some problems.

For Willie James Mitchell, 29, of Selma, the act of stealing a car and then stealing a police car in the same night means 46 months in jail after he was sentenced Wednesday by Circuit Court Judge Jack Meigs.

The sentencing comes after Mitchell was convicted of two counts of theft for an incident on Feb. 14, 2010.

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According to a report from District Attorney Michael Jackson’s office, Mitchell took a 1994 Mercury Grand Marquis from the home of Candice Johnson.

Once Johnson reported the stolen car, police caught up with Mitchell at the intersection of Lapsley Street and Minter Avenue.

Selma officer Robert Johnson took Mitchell into custody, placing him in the back of his patrol car. According to the report, while Johnson was filling out his report and contacting Robinson to come make a positive identification on the stolen vehicle, Mitchell slid open the dividing glass window in the patrol car, climbed through to the front driver’s seat and drove off with the patrol car.

“This defendant is not going to win a brain surgeon award for stealing a police officer’s car,” Jackson said Wednesday after the sentencing. “He probably should have given this more thought.”

But, Mitchell didn’t give it any thought and in fact tried to elude police. Officers cornered Mitchell at a dead end at Mabry Street and Griffin Avenue. At that point, Mitchell then ran but was later captured in the 1500 block of Church Street and taken into custody once again.

According to the report, Mitchell confessed to stealing the Grand Marquis and the patrol car and was charged with the two counts of theft of property.

“We are very pleased with today’s decision by Judge Meigs,” Selma Chief of Police William Riley said of the 46-month sentence. “These individuals have got to understand that when they choose to break the law that there are consequences.”