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'I thought it was a movie': N.J. couple allegedly stole cop cars, led police on chase

The young couple accused of stealing multiple police cars from two cities and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through two states Tuesday morning have been identified as Blake Bills and Shayna Sykes.

"I never heard of anyone stealing two police cars in one incident," said Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

Camden, N.J., Police Chief John S. Thomson tells NBC10's Cydney Long that Camden Police Officer Sekou Reid-Bey made a traffic stop at 9:49 a.m., directly in front of Camden Police Headquarters at 800 Federal Street, when the incident began.

"As [the officer] was interviewing the driver of that car, he heard his car door shut," he said.

Thompson says Reid-Bey, 49, saw the couple jump into his cruiser. He says they struck him, breaking the officer's leg, before driving off.


Initially, Sykes, 23, and Bills, 24, were pursued by both the Camden and Pennsauken Police Departments -- reaching 100 mph on the Admiral Wilson Boulevard, according to Camden County prosecutors. That pursuit lasted about 10 minutes and wove through the city of Camden and portions of Pennsauken.

As the stolen police cruiser crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge the South Jersey officers peeled off and Philly PD picked up the chase. The suspect eventually crashed the Camden Police car in the area of 7th and Norris in North Philadelphia.

Sykes fled from the crashed cruiser, according to law enforcement sources, leaving Bills trapped inside the Camden Police car.

With police attempting to apprehend Sykes, sources say she managed to steal a Philadelphia Police car, No. 2625, from the area of 7th and Norris, also in Philadelphia.

As it was being chased, the stolen Philadelphia cruiser hit three cars at 6th and Lehigh. It also nearly struck a pedestrian walking near 5th and Clearfield. That person fell and hit their head -- his/her condition is unknown.

The car was eventually stopped at 1100 Hope Street on the edge of Northern Liberties. Sykes attempted to run from the cruiser, but was apprehended by several officers just feet from the stolen car.

Sykes was handcuffed and put into another police cruiser. She was taken to East Detectives. The entire Philadelphia chase lasted about 15 minutes.

"I thought it was a movie," Felix Vargus, a tow truck driver, told NBC10's Claudia Rivero. "She was trying to fight with them so she could escape again."

Another witness who observed her arrest told Rivero the woman was not wearing shoes when she was taken into custody.

Police say that drugs possibly played a role in the incident and that both Bills and Sykes will face a slew of charges including resisting arrest, DUI, fleeing police and risking a catastrophe.

"And that's just here," Thompson said. "The other charges you will need to deal with Camden prosecutors for that."

Sykes and Bills are suspected of evading an officer during an attempted traffic stop Sunday -- just two days before the high-speed chase.

Camden prosecutors say they expect to charge the duo with aggravated assault and theft.

Reid-Bey was being treated at Cooper University Hospital. 

"He's doing well. He's going to be fine. He's in stable condition; significant injuries to the lower extremities of his body though," said Thompson. He says the officer, after being hit, went onto the cruiser's hood before being thrown to the concrete. The injured officer was then able to radio for assistance.

An official with the Camden Fraternal Order of Police tells NBC10 that Reid-Bey is an 18-year-veteran of the force.

"There will be a litany of charges she will face in Philadelphia," said Ross. "I think [authorities] did a great job under the circumstances."

Bills and Sykes both hail from Macungie, Pa. Police say that Bills grandmother reported the couple missing earlier in the day after they allegedly took the woman's car and left her with the couple's 7-month-old child. Police also suspect the couple is involved in another police chase on Sunday that left an officer injured.