SAN JOSE -- A husky arrestee used a bit of leeway in his restraints and a handcuff trick to fly the coop Wednesday afternoon, when he stole a police van from detectives who had just taken him into custody on probation warrants, authorities said.
About 3:30 p.m., detectives arrested Anthony Sanchez, 32, on drug-related warrants in the 800 block of Hillsdale Avenue, said San Jose police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer.
They put him into the back of an unmarked police minivan, and an officer stood near the vehicle doing paperwork when Sanchez made his move.
"They had double-cuffed him," Dwyer said. "Ironically they did it to help him; linked two sets of cuffs so that it would lessen the stress on his shoulders and the guy took advantage of it."
Sanchez apparently slipped the linked cuffs under his body to get his hands in front of him, then maneuvered into the driver's seat and sped off. The keys had been in the ignition.
"He hopped over the seats and bam, he's off," Dwyer said.
The van was found about 5:30 p.m. near Almaden Expressway and Wren Drive, a mile away.
"We weren't afraid of losing the car forever," Dwyer said. "Typically in a case like this, auto thieves don't take the car for a very long time and don't take it very far."
Nothing was stolen from the van, Dwyer said, which unlike a standard patrol car doesn't have a cage between the front and rear seats.
Sanchez, a San Jose resident, remains at large, but is not believed to be dangerous, Dwyer said. He is described as Latino, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot 10, 250 to 275 pounds, and was last seen wearing black sweats and a gray sweatshirt.
Dwyer said there was no indication that Sanchez was a flight risk and called it "unfortunate" that he chose to run from a routine matter.
"It's just one of those things," he said. "When somebody runs, when you ask them why they say they didn't want to go back to jail. But the situation is he was on probation -- he wasn't going to go back for very long. Now he's looking at a new case that could have been avoided."