SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 18, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A 38-year-old man was booked into jail early Tuesday after police say he came upon a patrol vehicle, empty except for a K-9 in the back, and took the truck for a brief joy ride.
The officer assigned to the marked vehicle was responding to another incident just before 3 a.m., when the suspect allegedly got in and drove away.
Suspect Ryan Joseph Schmeichel is now facing charges of theft, a second-degree felony; and interfering with a police service animal or handler, a class A misdemeanor.
“While police were investigating another incident, the arrested person went to a marked police K-9 patrol vehicle,” says a statement filed by an officer of the Salt Lake City Police Department.
“The arrested person made entry into the police car and left in the vehicle. Post Miranda, the arrested person said the door was open and he took the car around the block. The arrested person said he knew he was not allowed to take the car.
“Due to a police dog being in the car during the time the arrested person stole the K-9 police car, the arrested person interfered with the handler and canine.”
Schmeichel’s bail was set at $5,000. As of Tuesday afternoon, he remained listed as an inmate at the Salt Lake County Jail.