Recently in the news have been a number of incidents where people that were arrested somehow got out of the back seat of the police cruiser they were seated in, and were able to access the front seat and steal the car.
This is not a new phenomenon, but stealing a police chief's private vehicle is and it can get a person in very big trouble. Take the case of Rudolph Tippetts, a Hiawatha resident that decided one night in 1949, just before Christmas to take an idling car from in front of the Price Post Office to get home to the mountain town.
Turned out the car was owned by Price Police Chief William Lines and the lawman had just gone in to get some mail. As he walked out, he saw the lights of his car going south down Carbon Avenue into the dark of night.
As the Sun Advocate put it on December 15 when the story was reported, "The moral of this story is that crime does not pay, as is graphically portrayed on all mystery radio programs."
Lines himself was embarrassed because he had been so negligent to leave the car running on the street. On top of that it wasn't like it was early in the evening or even mid-evening but about 1:30 a.m. on that Monday before.
After seeing his car disappearing into the darkness, he found a phone and quickly called his own office to dispatch some officers to go after it. They went south on Carbon Avenue, and while the vehicle could have headed south on Highway 10 to Emery County, for some reason they suspected it had gone west toward Hiawatha. The stepped on it and saw tail lights in the distance getting closer and closer to them as they sped along. When they got near to the vehicle they realized it was the chief's car.
Apparently one drove the bosses car back to town while the other transported the driver, Tippets, into a jail cell. Later that day, Tippets was taken before City Judge S.J. Sweetring and he entered a plea of guilty for stealing the car.
Really, under the circumstances, what else could he do?
For the attempted theft he was told he could be fined $150 (Which would be about like $2,000 now) or spend 30 days in jail for the crime.
Tippetts, apparently without money, took the time in the clink.
The paper ended the story with the observation that Tippetts "...is probably brooding, during this sseason of good cheer, over his uncanny choice of vehicles to appropriate."