Handcuffed Houdini suspect arrested twice after escaping police - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Handcuffed Houdini: Suspect arrested after escaping police custody

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Kristafer Paul Bia Kristafer Paul Bia

A suspect was arrested twice after escaping from police custody while being held at a precinct near 39th Avenue and Cactus.

The man, 27-year-old Kristafer Paul Bia, was originally arrested for trying to steal multiple cases of beer.  Now he's facing even more serious charges after he escaped police custody -- leading them on a two hour search.

On Thursday around 11:30 p.m., police were taking Bia into the back of a patrol car -- arresting him for the second time that night.

Phoenix Police say it all began earlier in the day at a Circle K gas station on 28th Avenue and Camelback.  They say Bia went inside the store and tried to steal cases of beer.  He was stopped by a security guard who was able to keep him there until officers arrived at the scene.

Police then transported Bia to the Cactus precinct to process him.  That's when he was able to escape from their custody.

"While he was getting the property that belonged to that individual, he had his back turned for just a moment when he turned around, the suspect had run," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

Officers immediately set up a perimeter around the neighborhood.

"They had the street blocked off by the precinct, we kind of figured what it was, but nobody really told us," said Ester, a neighbor.  "We just saw the helicopter and a lot of police presence."

After two hours, Bia was found hiding in some bushes in a backyard right across the street from the precinct.  He was able to slip out of one of his handcuffs -- police don't know if he was able to do that before escaping or while he was hiding out.

Police say the situation on how Bia was able to escape is under investigation.

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