Three law enforcement agencies and a police dog tracked a suspected car thief more than a mile in south Scottsdale Tuesday in a pursuit that locked down a middle school and ended in the showroom of a car dealership.
After eluding a pursuing Scottsdale police officer twice while driving a stolen Camaro, Aaron Shank crashed it near Supai Middle School and ran north for more than a mile before he was arrested about 9:15 a.m. inside Power Subaru at 6420 E. McDowell Road, police said.
“He was ranting and raving, and didn’t appear to be in his right mind,” said Scottsdale Police Sgt. Mark Clark.
Shank told the dealership he wanted to call a friend for a ride, but employees grew skeptical and called police.
And officers arrived first.
Shank, 29, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, felony flight from an officer and endangerment for driving recklessly through a school zone.
While on routine patrol, a Scottsdale police officer noticed Shank speeding in an alley near the 7200 block of East Belleview Street about 8 a.m., but Shank sped north on Scottsdale Road when the officer tried to stop him, police said.
Shank later complied with the officer’s demands to stop near North 68th Street and McDowell Road, but again sped away while the officer was waiting for assistance from other officers, according to Scottsdale police.
Shank crashed the late-model silver Camaro west of 68th Street near McKellips Road, south of Supai Middle School at 6720 E. Continental Drive.
Witnesses told police they saw him run across the schoolyard and into the desert area, causing school officials to lock down the school until Shank was arrested. The school was locked down for a little more than an hour.
“We always want to ensure the safety of the students, absolutely,” said Marijke Van Fleet, a spokeswoman for the Scottsdale Unified School District.
A Scottsdale police dog started tracking Shank’s scent where he left the crashed car, but ultimately it was Power Subaru employees who notified police there was a man acting strangely in their showroom. Shank appeared to be impaired by drugs or alcohol, Clark said.
Scottsdale police, assisted by the Phoenix Police Department’s helicopter unit and Tempe police, arrested Shank without incident, Clark said.
After the arrest, Shank, wearing a black hat and black shirt, told reporters that police had the wrong man and that he was walking to his grandmother’s house.
Shank previously served two and a half years in prison in Arizona for theft, according to police records.
ABC15 News contributed to this report