Couple stole two cop cars, started dangerous chase, police say

A Camden officer is placed on a gurney after being struck during the chase on Tuesday. (CAMDEN COURIER-POST)
A Camden officer is placed on a gurney after being struck during the chase on Tuesday. (CAMDEN COURIER-POST)
Posted: March 07, 2013

SHAYNA SYKES posted a photograph to Instagram recently of a new tattoo on her foot that reads "Live fast DIE PRETTY."

On Tuesday morning, Sykes, 23, and her fiance, Blake Bills, 24, fulfilled the first part of her foot-tattoo prophecy - and came dangerously close to the second - when they stole not one, but two police cars and led cops on a chase from Camden to Philadelphia at speeds of up to 100 mph before they were eventually arrested, police said.

"Clearly, it was a very volatile situation. A lot of people could have gotten hurt, and this just was bizarre," said Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. "I've never heard of an instance where two police cars from different states were stolen in the same incident."

Authorities say the chase may have capped a three-day crime spree for Sykes and Bills, who have a 7-month-old girl and whose relatives in their hometown of Macungie, Lehigh County, reported them missing several days ago.

Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, said police are looking at Bills and Sykes as suspects in a police chase on Sunday and in an attempted carjacking of a civilian vehicle earlier Tuesday.

Sykes and Bills allegedly stole the first cop car about 9:50 a.m. Tuesday, when they saw Camden police Officer Sekou Reid-Bey, 49, stop a car near the city's police administration building, police said.

While Reid-Bey was talking with the driver he pulled over, Bills and Sykes, who were not involved in the car stop, jumped into the officer's cruiser and sped away with Bills behind the steering wheel, according to police.

While fleeing the scene, police said, Bills intentionally struck Reid-Bey, a 16-year veteran of the force, breaking his leg.

Bills and Sykes sped through Camden and Pennsauken as television-news helicopters tracked them overhead, police said. The couple made their way over the Ben Franklin Bridge and were eventually stopped by Philly police at 7th and Norris streets, in North Philadelphia, where Bills was arrested, police said.

While cops were detaining him, Sykes hopped out of the passenger's seat of the Camden police cruiser and jumped in to the driver's seat of an unattended Philadelphia cop car, Ross said.

He said the officer had left his car alone because he believed that assisting the officers in the arrest was important to their safety.

"Who would think the female is going to come out of that car and get in the police car?" Ross said.

Sykes sped off and barreled down the narrow streets of Fishtown, where she hit three parked cars and a box truck, police said.

She eventually was stopped in Northern Liberties, at Hope Street near Wildey, and tried to run but was immediately nabbed about 10:30 a.m., police said.

In Philadelphia, Sykes and Bills were charged with resisting arrest, risking a catastrophe, driving under the influence of intoxicants and related offenses.

Ross said that police had received information that the couple had used drugs, "which is clearly not hard to believe given the circumstances," but that he wasn't sure what drugs they were on.

Laughlin, of the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, said that the first time that police may have had contact with the duo could have been Sunday, when an officer stopped a car occupied by a couple at 3rd and Erie streets who he believed were making a drug purchase.

The couple in that case fled the stop and led police on a chase along Interstate 676 but they eluded capture, Laughlin said.

The other case in which Camden authorities are eyeing the pair was the attempted carjacking of a civilian vehicle about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at 3rd and Market streets, he said.

Laughlin stressed that Sykes and Bills were only suspects in the prior instances and had not been charged in those cases. They are facing charges of aggravated assault, theft and related offenses in the hijacking of Reid-Bey's cruiser.

Sykes and Bills are active on social media, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Bills has tweeted about bartending, skiing and being a "proud father" of 7-month-old Zoey. He also has an entire Facebook photo album devoted to the time that WMMR's Preston & Steve radio show surprised him at his home in 2011 with a stripper wake-up call, apparently organized by his parents.

Relatives of Bills and Sykes declined to comment.

Sykes has tweeted about how she loves the HBO show "Cathouse," about the legal Moonlite BunnyRanch brothel in Nevada, and how wants to go there. She also writes of how she's had "insomnia" since having a child and of how "There's no 'take backs' in life but there are 'I owe you's.' "

Ross said police are trying to determine why the couple did what they did, but said trying to come up with a rational excuse is just a waste of time.

"I'm certainly not trying to come up with mitigating circumstances for them, but nonetheless, unless there's some drugs involved, who else can explain that kind of bizarre behavior?"

- Staff writers Jason Nark,

Solomon Leach and Jad Sleiman

contributed to this report.


" @FarFarrAway

Blog: PhillyConfidential.com

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