GLADSTONE, Mo. -- A car stolen right out of a Northland church parking lot this past Christmas has been recovered, after Clay County deputies spotted it on the road in Gladstone and chased it down.
Prosecutors said the suspects led law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase Thursday. The stolen car weaved through on-coming lanes of traffic, ran stop lights and stop signs, before finally hitting a speed bump that damaged the front tire and brought the car to a stop.
Prosecutors said the driver of the stolen car, 26-year-old Michael Boyles, hopped out and tried to run, but a Gladstone police officer helping in the pursuit caught him.
Police arrested Boyles along with his two passengers, a man and a woman. Police later released the two passengers without filing charges, but Boyles remains in custody and now faces criminal charges of tampering, resisting arrest and unlawful use of a weapon.
The victim in this case, a man named Stan, told FOX 4 on Friday he's relieved to hear the accused thieves were caught, especially after they had been reportedly using his stolen vehicle as a getaway car to commit other crimes.
“That was it, it was gone,” Stan said of the day his 2013 gray Ford Escape was stolen from his church parking lot. “I mean, right in the middle of the church service!”
Stan said he was at Bethel United Church of Christ on NE Parvin Road to attend choir practice just two days after Christmas.
“Someone actually came into the building,” he recalled, “rifled through some coats, found the keys, walked back out, [clicked the alarm on my keys], found my car and drove off.”
Stan said another church-goer had even welcomed the woman they believe stole his keys, after she told them she just needed to come inside to warm her hands.
“A church ought to be safe for everybody, you know?” he said. “And so it was pretty disconcerting.”
Stan's stolen car was spotted a few weeks later about two miles away being used as a getaway car to try to steal this brand new pickup truck –a plan that was foiled when a neighbor caught them and wrote down the license plate number for police.
It was a sighting that gave Stan hope the suspects were still in the metro and would soon be caught.
“I just assumed if somebody stole the car,” he said, “they drove out of the city, they got new plates, they did something…not drove around the same area that they stole the car from. It`s just really bold.”
Fast-forward to Thursday, and Clay County deputies spotted the car again – this time, at a Gladstone intersection. That sparked the high-speed chase that ended in three arrests.
“Actually I feel sympathy for them,” Stans said of the suspects. “That this is the way they think they have to live their lives. They`re going to be always on the run, always looking over their shoulder. It would be a terrible way to live.”
Stan said when deputies finally got his car back, they found a binder inside that listed a slew of other vehicles the trio planned to steal. It’s a possible crime spree that's now hit a dead-end.