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Accused thief runs into police station, then gets in fistfight with chief, AL cops say

A 42-year-old accused of stealing a vehicle ran from custody — then ended up fighting a police chief, Alabama authorities said.

On Feb. 28, the Florence Police Department was searching for a vehicle reported stolen when they found it near the station, police said in a Feb. 29 news release.

An officer tried to take the man in the vehicle into custody, but he resisted arrest, police said.

The Florence chief of police, Ron Tyler, was in the parking lot when he heard the commotion. He ran over to assist, then the man bolted and ran into the lobby of the station “in an apparent attempt to evade arrest,” police said in the release.

A scuffle ensued inside the station when the 42-year-old pushed the chief, according to officers.

Tyler’s head was slammed into a chair, and the fight ended with a hole in the wall, police said.

“I was literally emailing HR earlier today with some preliminary retirement questions,” Tyler said in the release. “I never imagined I would wind up in a fistfight before the day was out.”

Other officers arrived to the lobby and were able to take the man into custody, according to the release.

Now, he’s charged with robbery, theft of property, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and criminal mischief. He was booked in the Lauderdale County jail on $33,500 bond, police said.

Other than a little blood on the chief’s clothes, he said no one was “too worse for the wear,” and no one needed medical treatment.

“While my title may be chief of police, above all else, I am a police officer,” Tyler said.

Florence is in northwest Alabama, about 75 miles west of Huntsville.

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