LEAWOOD, Kan. — Two suspected thieves remain hospitalized after Prairie Village police chased a stolen SUV from Mission Hills into Leawood, where the vehicle crashed in the front yard of a home.
Neighbors are thankful no one else was hurt near the intersection of Somerset and Belinder.
Police have had extra officers working overnight in Mission Hills and Prairie Village because there have been about a dozen reports of stolen cars or thefts from vehicles in those cities during the last month.
“We’ve had a lot burglaries to vehicles as well as auto thefts and so we’ve ramped up our numbers at night trying to see if we can get ahold of them,” said Capt. Byron Roberson of the Prairie Village police department.
After 2 a.m., neighbors reported that an SUV had crashed when it jumped a curb, hit a tree, spun around and came to rest against Melanie Swift’s house.
“I just peeked out my blind for who knows why and there was the car in my face,” Swift said. “I ran and woke my son up and I said, ‘Come! There’s a car in the house!’ He comes and the minute we open the door, then the car caught on fire. He gets a hose and he starts putting it out.”
Police say they had stopped chasing the SUV because it sped away from them at dangerously high speeds.
Investigators say they were watching as the thieves found an unlocked Land Rover, with the keys left inside, in Mission Hills and took off with it.
Detectives used evidence from the previous crimes to identify the suspects.
Swift says she’s thankful they’re in custody and that no one else was hurt.
“I think their speed was very fast,” Swift said. “And I think they thought Belinder was just a straight street. And there are no marks in my grass, so I think they hit the curb on my side, went airborne, this is my own opinion. Hit that tree. I do think they didn’t put their brakes on or anything.”
Both Swift and her son heard moaning and calls for help from the two suspects. One had been thrown from the vehicle and tried to claim that he was just walking down the sidewalk and had been sideswiped by the stolen SUV. But police aren’t buying that story.
Although Swift says her home suffered some damage from the crash, she says the large tree in her front yard prevented it from being much worse.