Carjacking suspect tries to evade cops in the ocean, comes up wet

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The ocean is not a suitable getaway option when running from the police.

A carjacking suspect came up wet trying to employ such a tactic Monday, when he crashed a stolen vehicle and then dipped into the water off Fort Lauderdale beach in a failed attempt to escape officers.

Two Marine Unit officers with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department plucked the swimming suspect as he swam north near East Las Olas Boulevard and A1A about 9:30 am. Monday.

The incident began shortly before 9 a.m. in the parking lot of Paradise Bank, 540 N. Federal Highway. Police said the man, who was not identified, tried to snatch a purse and car keys from an employee who was getting out of her vehicle.

The woman briefly fought with the man over the purse, said agency spokeswoman Detective DeAnna Garcia. After a brief struggle, the man forced his way into her car and sped away, heading toward the beach.

The man lost control of the SUV near the intersection of East Las Olas Boulevard and Seabreeze Boulevard after noticing police had spotted him, said Garcia. The vehicle plowed into a bus bench and a power pole before coming to a rest in a parking lot at the intersection's southeast corner, Garcia said. No one was hurt.

With police chasing him, the man ran across the sand and into the ocean. It was unclear whether the man jumped into the water to get rid of a weapon, but he did shed some of his clothes.

Police had not announced his charges or the man's identity as of late Monday afternoon.

It's not the first time someone in Fort Lauderdale has tried to escape authorities by swimming.

In November, Ryan McKenzie was inside a crowded courtroom for a drug hearing when he dashed out of the courthouse and jumped into the New River in an attempt to escape. He nearly drowned.

In January 2009, John Ross, 29, of Pompano Beach, ran from the courthouse when his bond was revoked in an aggravated battery case. He jumped into the river and drowned.

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