Man steals police car after armed robbery at store – then tries to use officer’s rifle to shoot cops (it’s a big mistake)

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QUINCY, MA – A brazen crime spree came to an end in late March after authorities in Quincy fatally shot an alleged armed suspect who reportedly committed an armed robbery and led police on a chase after stealing a police patrol vehicle.

The truth can often be stranger than fiction and the details surrounding this case are certainly astonishing to the point of near disbelief.

The string of events reportedly started at approximately 7:00 a.m. on March 26th when 36-year-old Eric Leach had allegedly committed an armed robbery at a 7-Eleven in Rockland.

Officials say with respect to the alleged armed robbery that Leach had entered the store an ordered the employee working the counter to hand over the money in the cash register, which wound up being a total of $340.

Apparently, the employee who was working the counter during the robbery initially thought that it was a “joke”:

“I’ve never seen him before. I thought it was a joke. I thought it was a toy gun.”

The 7-Eleven clerk said that the suspect had taken the money, a pair of gloves, and some snacks before leaving the store.

After the alleged robbery, Leach had purportedly started running through a nearby neighborhood and was knocking on people’s doors seeing if they would let him into their homes.

One resident, identified as Christine Breadmore, stated that Leach had furnished some fabricated story about just having been attacked by two people and needed to use her phone:

“He came right up to my door. He said, ‘I just got jumped by two people…can I come in and use your phone?’”

Breadmore stated that she denied Leach entry into her home. Security camera footage also showed the suspect trying to make his way into another home across the street from Breadmore’s residence.  

Rockland Police reportedly responded to the area and wound up engaging in a foot chase of Leach. At some point during this foot pursuit, the suspect had reportedly managed to appropriate a police patrol vehicle.

The suspect allegedly sped off, leading a police pursuit where the Massachusetts State Police wound up getting involved in the chase.

Leach had managed to gain the attention of local police, Massachusetts State Police and SWAT vehicles by the time he was in the city of Quincy.

As the suspect was climbing out of the stolen police cruiser, he was reportedly armed with the patrol rifle from the stolen cruiser.

A Massachusetts State Police trooper was said to have fired a single shot at Leach, fatally striking him.

In terms of injuries suffered by any law enforcement personnel during the incident, an Abington Police officer was said to have had their vehicle flip over during the pursuit of Leach.

The officer, who was not identified, was transported to a local hospital but was released shortly thereafter to recover at home.

This is an ongoing investigation. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this case. 

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In terms of bold crimes we’ve reported on in the past here at Law Enforcement Today, a armored car heist plot from November of 2020 serves as another prime example of brazen criminal offenses. 

Here’s that previous report from November of 2020.

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Prosecutors say that a former armored car guard was one of three involved in a heist of over $1.7 million of an armored car outside of an Atlantic City casino.

From what prosecutors say, the armored car belonged to the same company where the former guard once worked.  He allegedly helped in executing the scheme. 

The incident happened outside of the Bally’s casino in Atlantic City “in broad daylight,” on November 5th, according to prosecutors. Officials say that 35-year-old Dante J. McCluney was one of three that pilfered $1,760,000 from a Rapid Armored Corporation vehicle parked outside of the casino. 

Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner spoke of the “brazen” nature of this case

“This was a brazen burglary of an armored car on a public street in broad daylight. Out of all the crimes I’ve seen committed in Atlantic County during my tenure, this incident harkened back to something out of the 1930s.”

McCluney and two other male suspects were said to have parked a gray Hyundai near the armored vehicle and began unloading “suspected bags of U.S. currency,” and departed the area within a span of about five minutes. 

Prosecutors say that it was through McCluney’s previous employment with Rapid Armored Corporation that aided in the suspect’s ability to pull off said robbery. 

The incident was said to have been captured on surveillance footage, which helped in identifying McCluney, as two former co-workers were said to have recognized him on the obtained footage. 

Tyner noted that the arrest of McCluney was accomplished due to some “old fashioned detective work”: 

“Thankfully, we have a talented, hard working group of detectives who used old fashioned detective work to track down Dante McCluney, and then identify the other suspects.”

Reportedly, the two other suspects involved in the incident are still at-large. Tyner also stated that “a substantial amount of the stolen cash has been recovered.”

McCluney is currently being housed at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, where he’s facing charges of burglary, theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy to commit theft. 

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