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TV Interview Leads Police to Cruiser Theft Suspect

January 31, 1991

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ About 15 seconds of fame were 15 seconds too many for a suspect in a police-car theft who was arrested after airing his political views on a local television newscast.

James Schlagel, 33, was interviewed at a Pittsburgh cafe on KDKA’s 11 p.m. report for his reaction to President Bush’s State of the Union address. Schlagel waved a small American flag and said the country should support ″President Reagan.″

Federal marshals and city police watching the newscast recognized Schlagel as the man they say stole a police cruiser from a shopping center Dec. 28, rammed two other police cars trying to box him in, and fled.

″They went crazy. Everyone started calling each other. Their beepers began going off,″ said Vince Monardo, a spokesman for the Greater Pittsburgh Fugitive Task Force.

Officers descended on the tavern within minutes and arrested Schlagel. He was charged Wednesday with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and traffic violations.

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