Shoplifting Suspect Evades Guard but Returns to Scene, Is Caught by Police

Some people just have to show off.

Escaping a police foot chase wasn't good enough for a shoplifting suspect who evaded officers Thursday by dropping into a manhole.

He returned to the scene -- even talked to a TV cameraman -- as authorities searched for him in a nearby storm-water culvert.

The man was arrested after Lt. Dean Sullivan, the acting police spokesman, spotted the man and his wife getting on a city bus.

"Apparently, he had told a cameraman that he knew the guy and that 'They'll never catch him, he's the Gingerbread Man,' " Sullivan said. "I guess he was bragging."

The chase started at the Albertsons supermarket at Green Oaks Boulevard and Interstate 30 across from Ridgmar mall.

About 5 p.m., customers noticed a man behaving suspiciously and notified an off-duty police officer who was working security.

The officer watched the man walk past the check-out counters with four packs of baby back ribs, Sullivan said.

The officer chased the man out onto Green Oaks until the man dumped the ribs and jumped into a manhole.

"He just put his arms at his side and dropped like a missile," officer R.M. Salazar said.

It was about a 25-foot drop, fire Lt. Kent Worley said. Police said the drain had multiple exits.

The Fire Department's technical rescue team erected a tripod and, using straps and ropes, were lowered into the drain to look for the man.

They searched 400 feet but only found the suspect's glasses, Worley said.

Meanwhile, the man, who must have come up through another manhole, watched the search, Sullivan said.

He then boarded a bus on Green Oaks with his wife, whom officers had noticed earlier and questioned.

The man, whose name was not released, was being questioned late Thursday, Sullivan said.

Why wouldn't he have just kept running? "Some people just can't leave well enough alone," Sullivan said.

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