OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. — A man accused of stealing a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser and trying to run over three troopers in Okeechobee County on Thursday was wanted for a carjacking on Florida's Gulf Coast earlier in the week.
Police said 22-year-old Shane Jensen was captured on surveillance video trying to steal a pickup truck at a Home Depot in Clearwater on Wednesday morning.
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Jensen was unsuccessful, but was able to steal another vehicle minutes later in the parking lot of the store by threatening a driver with a hammer, according to police.
"Right away he opens it and jumps in with the hammer swinging and yelling get out, get out," said Jake Brown, who was sitting inside his dad’s Dodge Ram at the time. "So I take one foot and step out. I grab the tape measure and just slung it as hard as I could right at his face."
Jensen had just gotten out of jail the day before, on Tuesday, after he was arrested for criminal mischief for breaking the windows of his boss' car at a recreation center in Clearwater.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a trooper found Jensen on the shoulder of the Florida Turnpike in Okeechobee County around 4 p.m. Thursday.
FHP said Jensen was sitting in the grass next to the trooper's cruiser and appeared to be medically distressed. The trooper said he walked away to get water for Jensen, and that's when Jensen hopped into the cruiser and sped away.
"I saw this FHP vehicle kind of wobbling and speeding along in between the cars that were stopped," said a witness who was sitting in the traffic backup.
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According to FHP, Jensen put the cruiser in reverse at one point and tried to run over three troopers.
The pursuit entered neighboring Osceola County, where authorities deployed stop sticks. FHP said Jensen swerved around the sticks and drove onto a grass median. He eventually got out of the cruiser and ran into the woods where troopers later captured him.
Jensen is now facing several charges in connection with the stolen cruiser, including stealing a patrol car and reckless driving.