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Patrol Car Allegedly Stolen By Ride-Along Guest

Recovered By Deputies After Chase

Jun 8, 2005 8:51 am US/Pacific
COMPTON, Calif. (AP) A man who had just finished a ride-along with a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy stole the patrol car early Wednesday while it was briefly unattended and led deputies on a chase through three cities, authorities said.

Steven Funderburk, 20, told Deputy Alexander Miller that he was an Explorer Scout with the Long Beach Police Department and developed a good rapport with the deputy during the ride-along, said sheriff's Sgt. Don Manumaleuna.

When the deputy's shift ended after 1 a.m., Funderburk asked to retrieve his bag from the car in the parking lot. When Miller returned to check on Funderburk, the patrol car was gone, Manumaleuna said.

Miller was able to talk to Funderburk on the patrol car's radio and convince him to surrender without incident after a chase that went through Compton, Long Beach and Westminster, Manumaleuna said.

"Miller said he demonstrated nothing that would concern him" during the ride-along, the spokesman said. "It's very bizarre. We're still trying to figure this one out."

The Long Beach Police Department has no record of Funderburk being an Explorer Scout there, Manumaleuna said.

Manumaleuna said anyone can go for a ride-along with deputies if they have no felony convictions and fill out an application.
 
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