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Suspected Price Chopper thief hides from police in storm drain

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police say a man went inside a Price Chopper on Wednesday morning, stole several items and then ran across the street and hid in a storm drain.

"It was pretty crazy. I just saw a lot of police activity right off I-29. Cops everywhere, " said Brian Champion,  who stepped outside the supermarket on Vivion Road in the Northland Wednesday morning just after it happened.

"Yeah in one minute I just saw cops coming around our parking lot. It was very wacky, yes sir, " said Corey Sweet laughingly.

Hearing that a shampoo-swiping shoplifter dashed in a storm drain caught a lot folks at the Northtowne Fiat auto dealership near Old Pike Road off guard, laughing non-stop and just in awe.

"It's definitely not something you see every day around here," said Sweet.

"I found this brand new bottle of shampoo in our parking lot, and he just kept dropping stuff before he ran in that storm drain, " said John Howe, the manager at Northtowne Fiat.

While one police officer used a flashlight to try to find the suspected thief in the dark drain, another Kansas City officer found a metal pole nearby and tried to poke the drain-hiding bandit out.

"He must be a pretty small guy because all of these guys can't even fit in that tiny drain to go and bring him out," said John Howe.

Police say they knew the shampoo-stealing culprit was in the drain because they soon saw an unusual trail of bubbles that started floating from the drainage ditch.

"Yep, you could see bubbles there in the water by the drain. I guess he's in there washing his hair or something, " said John Howe.

Well, after two hours of waiting, Kansas City cops called it quits and left.

Several troopers with Missouri State Highway Patrol stayed by the drain, covering every end, just in case the fleeing suspect thief crawled out.

"Well, it's just a misdemeanor. He didn't hurt anybody and he's not a threat to the public. God knows where he is, " said Officer Pete Schultz with the Kansas City Police Department.

How about calling in some police canines to try to sniff the brazen bandit out of the wet, muddy drain?

"Well, we're not gonna call them out. It's just not worth it because the drain curves in some areas and could easily be 50 feet long and even stretches under parts of I-29, we're just gonna let him be, " said Schultz as he departed the scene, still thinking about the elusive, drain-dodging suspect who kept him and fellow officers busy.

"It's definitely bizarre," said Schultz.