Two face charges in bistate police chases

Posted: March 27, 2013

After three days of he and his girlfriend living on the streets of Camden, coming off heroin and cocaine highs, stealing and wrecking two police cars, and running down a police officer, Blake Bills sounded a little touchy when Detective Paul Alminde asked, "Why?"

"I was cold and tired; I wasn't thinking clearly. I don't know, dude," replied Bills, 24, according to the transcript of his statement to police.

The statements of Bills and girlfriend Shayna Sykes, 23, were introduced as evidence Monday at a preliminary hearing where a Philadelphia judge ordered both held for trial on a long list of charges in a March 5 bistate crime spree.

According to Bills' statement, he and Sykes had been homeless for three days after their car broke down in Camden. That was the car they stole in South Philadelphia to replace the one that broke down, which they had stolen from Sykes' grandmother in Macungie, near Allentown.

Bills said that they were at Federal Street and Broadway in Camden and that he was miserable.

"I wanted to be warm and mobile, and I saw a police car," Bills told detectives.

In what Bills called a "drug-induced stupid decision," he told police he jumped into a Camden police car idling while the officer made a traffic stop.

Sykes got in the passenger side and they were off, leading police in a chase over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and into North Philadelphia.

Bills, who police said was racing about 60 m.p.h. and blowing through stoplights and stop signs, stayed ahead until he sideswiped several cars and a tree, and hit a house at Seventh and Norris Streets.

Bills was apprehended as he tried to run from the wrecked Camden cruiser, but Sykes jumped into a Philadelphia police car and led police on another chase that ended with the cruiser on fire in the 1100 block of Hope Street.

Assistant District Attorney Gaetano D'Andrea called a series of police witnesses and one deliveryman who was injured when Sykes crashed into his truck.

Municipal Court Judge Frank T. Brady ordered the couple held on charges involving the theft of the two police cars as well as driving under the influence, assault, and reckless endangerment.

Defense attorneys David S. Bahuriak, for Bills, and Geoffrey Kilroy, for Sykes, were able to persuade Brady to dismiss or reduce some charges.

Sykes did not appear to pay attention to Bills during the hearing, but he continually watched her and once tried to talk to her before a court staffer stopped him.

Bills faces far more serious charges in New Jersey, where he is accused of hitting and injuring the police officer whose car he stole.

Bills and Sykes said in their statements that they were sorry about the people who were hurt.

Sykes' statement says that they decided to quit drugs while in the stolen Camden cruiser and that Bills said, "OK, let's go out with a bang."

"He is a great driver," Sykes told detectives.

Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985,, or @joeslobo on Twitter.

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