A 19-year-old Harrisburg man has been charged in a series of burglaries at the city's vehicle maintenance facility, including one incident where a police car and two other city vehicles were stolen, police said Monday.
Shihi Qadir Thomas is accused of breaking into the facility in the 1800 block of Paxton Street three times in May and June. He's also accused of a burglary at Best Buy Auto Group in the 900 block of South 18th Street.
During the first incident May 2, officials said a Parks and Recreation SUV, a 15-passenger Parks and Recreation van, and a new marked police cruiser were stolen after someone cut the lock on the main gate of the city facility.
On June 1, a police car was damaged when it was rammed into a locked gate during a theft attempt.
The stolen vehicles have been recovered.
Police Captain Colin Cleary said it appears Thomas was just joyriding.
"I don't know that I am qualified to comment on the psyche or what was going on in his mind when he decided to steal a police car. I think he should have realized he was kind of poking the tiger," Cleary said.
Thomas was arrested June 21 for being in possession of a stolen vehicle. Police said he also had seven keys that belong to the city and were stolen from the maintenance facility.
He was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and sent to Dauphin County Prison on $50,000 cash bail.
Thomas eventually confessed to the break-ins and police last week filed four counts of burglary and two counts of conspiracy to commit burglary.
Cleary said additional security measures have been put in place at the maintenance facility. He said officers continue to investigate whether Thomas had any accomplices during the burglaries.