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Police arrest prisoner who escaped cell, stole Eastlake police cruiser

Posted at 1:16 PM, Dec 05, 2019

EASTLAKE, Ohio — A prisoner being held at the Eastlake police station for grand theft auto managed to escape his cell as the door was closing, then stole a police cruiser and eluded authorities for hours before being located and arrested on Cleveland’s East Side Thursday.

Joey Moran, 31, was being held on grand theft auto and burglary charges and was being placed back in his cell at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Eastlake police chief Larry Reik. As the cell door was closing, Moran was able to slip out and into an open cell.

“Devices turn to close the cell and it closes in a slow manner,” Reik said, “As the device was closing, he was able to get out of that cell and into an open cell.”

That went unnoticed by the officer, who was dealing with administrative matters, Reik said.

Reik said that some time during his stay, Moran must have watched an officer punch in the door code, as he was able to input the code himself to open the station’s garage door.

“He was able to see the code being punched in to get in and out of the doors,” Reik said. “He punched that code in and unsecured the garage door.”

Reik also added that Moran’s clothes and cell phone may have been in the garage, as Moran was able to grab both before he jumped in a cruiser and started it — the cruiser’s key FOB was apparently close enough to allow him to turn it on, Reik said.

RAW: Surveillance video shows Eastlake prisoner stealing cruiser

From there, he drove off from the police station and evaded authorities for several hours.

“He obviously exposed some holes in our system,” Reik said. “Not one of our best days, but nobody got hurt."

Cleveland police assisted Eastlake in tracking the stolen cruiser and Moran down; Reik said 60 to 70 officers and two helicopters aided in the search. Authorities used location devices in the car and on Moran to pinpoint his location.

Moran was arrested at an auto shop on Cleveland’s East Side at around 1 p.m., and he is back in custody at Eastlake police headquarters.

“He had no plan whatsoever,” Reik said. “It was just to get away from the facility.”

Reik emphasized that no one was hurt, the cruiser was recovered undamaged and the public was not in danger.

“The system normally works, but obviously there are still flaws in it,” Reik said. “We have to do a better job to make sure we’re checking, double checking and triple checking.”

Watch the full news conference with Chief Reik below:

Eastlake police chief gives update on stolen cruiser