Alaska woman accused of stealing patrol car holding husband

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A woman suspected of stealing an Alaska State Troopers patrol car that held her handcuffed husband in the back seat was arrested on suspicion of theft and other charges.

Troopers acting on a tip found Amber Watford, 28, of Big Lake, and Joshua Watford, 38, at a home in Wasilla on Thursday.

An officer had arrested Joshua Watford on Wednesday after receiving a tip that he was in a Big Lake pawn shop. He had been convicted of driving under the influence but had failed to attend court-ordered classes, said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.

After Watford had been placed in the back of a patrol car, a passing motorist stopped and began speaking to the arresting officer. While the officer was distracted, troopers said, Amber Watford got behind the wheel of the patrol car and took off.

Troopers recovered the patrol car an hour later. It had not been damaged. Nothing was missing from the car, including the handcuffs that had been on Joshua Watford’s wrists, Peters said.

Troopers launched a search for the Watfords that included a helicopter and an Anchorage Police Department K-9, but the effort to find them was halted after several hours.

After the tip came in Thursday, the Watfords were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft and other charges, including hindering prosecution and criminal mischief.

Joshua Watford remained jailed Friday morning. Amber Watford’s bail was set at $20,000, and she was no longer in custody.

Directory assistance did not list a phone number where the Watfords could be reached for comment.

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