3/23/21 New Castle, PA – Man In Handcuffs Steals New Castle Police Car – Officer Charged Into The Passenger Side Door And Slams Gear Shifter Into Park – Man Was An Arrestee At Court

March 23, 2021


Just after Brendan John Shropshire had been arraigned on charges of robbery and truck theft Sunday, he managed to climb handcuffed into a police officer’s cruiser and try to drive it away, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Shropshire, 24, of 4 Mahoning Ave., now is facing more charges filed against him in connection with the patrol car incident that occurred in Ellwood City Borough.

New Castle police had arrested Shropshire after a report of his having robbed the New Castle Brothers Market at 835 Moravia St. on Saturday, when he reportedly made off with about $3,000. He was driving a pickup truck that had been reported stolen from Crawford County, according to a criminal complaint filed against him.

A New Castle police officer had driven Shropshire and a defendant in a separate case to their arraignments in the court of District Judge Jerry G. Cartwright in Ellwood City around 10 a.m. Sunday, according to the more recent criminal complaint filed against Shropshire.

The officer reported in the court report that he had parked his cruiser in front of the court offices and left his spare keys to the cruiser in the ignition with the motor off and the doors locked. Following the arraignments, he returned to the cruiser to place Shropshire and the other defendant in the vehicle. Both were standing on the sidewalk as he unlocked the front passenger door, then hit the unlock button. 

As he placed the second defendant in the back seat of the cruiser, Shropshire snuck around the back of the car, opened the driver’s door, got in and started the car, the report said. 

The officer glimpsed the motion and opened the front passenger door as Shropshire put the car in drive and gear and accelerated, despite the officer’s orders for him to stop. The officer had jumped into the front passenger seat side but was only part way into the car as it started moving forward, the report said. The officer grabbed the gear shift and jammed it into park, which abruptly stopped the car. He grabbed onto the chain links of Shropshire’s handcuffs and twisted them enough to remove Shropshire’s hands from the steering wheel and gear shift, he reported. Then he reached over and turned off the ignition. 

Meanwhile, the other defendant was in the back of the cruiser, police reported.

Ellwood City officers arrived to assist and removed Shropshire from the police car. 

The Ellwood City Police Department has charged Shropshire with aggravated assault, assault by prisoner, criminal attempt at escape, theft, two counts of recklessly endangering another person, and one count each of criminal mischief and driving with a suspended or revoked license in connection with the incident. He was awaiting arraignment early Tuesday on those charges by Cartwright.

Shropshire was arrested Saturday after leading police on a pursuit in the stolen truck, then getting out and running from them on the city’s North Hill, where they found him hiding in a dumpster.

He is charged with robbery, receiving stolen property and fleeing police in connection with that incident and was jailed on Sunday on a $50,000 bond.