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Videos show escapes of couple linked to identity theft spree

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FARMINGTON — Police have released two videos showing how two alleged criminals escaped custody Tuesday afternoon.

The couple, Shauntae Stratton and Joseph Lee Chatwin, have been linked to the theft of hundreds of IDs and stolen items police recovered.

The videos, recorded from cameras in the Farmington Police Station and parking lot, show the escape of Stratton and Chatwin, who were arrested and brought to the station Tuesday afternoon.

Police describe 40-year-old Chatwin and 23-year-old Stratton as professional, due to the difficulty of their escapes.

The video shows Stratton fought while she was being secured inside a holding cell, and as officers left, she ran toward the door.

"She was determined," said Farmington Police Department Lt. Parish Snyder.

While police were trying to get the woman to sit down in the cell, Chatwin was executing his escape from the police car. He maneuvered his handcuffed wrists to the front of his body, kicked out the car's window, and then dived out of the car. From there, he ran.

About a minute later, police realize that the man had escaped. While police were setting up a perimeter to find Chatwin, video shows Stratton pulling something out of her shirt and start working on unlocking the holding cell door.

"It looked inside, like she was messing with her mouth, like she might have had something in her mouth," Snyder said. "She was messing with the door."

Moments later she makes her escape, slips past an officer in the parking lot and runs to Woodland Park, yards away from the station.

A Deputy's K9 found her hiding in some bushes in the park about an hour later. Officers bound her in full-body restraints, of which police say she later fought her way out.

Police say Chatwin got away in a black Hummer, and while they found the vehicle, he is still on the run. Though he doesn't have a very violent criminal history, police say he is desperate and urge anyone who might see him not to approach him.

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Mike Anderson


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