How A Handcuffed Florida Man Stole A Police Car In Rawlins

A Florida man who squirmed his way through the partition of a Rawlins police car and stole it -- while handcuffed -- is a modern-day Houdini.

Jimmy Orr

October 14, 20212 min read

Houdini scaled

It may seem extraordinary that someone wearing handcuffs could slip through the partition in a police car and then steal the vehicle.

But it actually did happen last week in Rawlins, as Cowboy State Daily reported, and now photos show just how extraordinary the feat was.

It’s Houdini-level impressive.

One Cowboy State Daily reader asked if the suspect was 13 pounds. That’s a good question.

He was not. But Mira Miller, Community Relations Coordinator for the City of Rawlins, said Florida man James Estes is 140 pounds.

That’s small enough, apparently, where he slid his handcuffed arms from the back to the front of his body and then squirmed his way through the partition. Then he took off in the police car and drove it for 70 miles before wrecking the vehicle.

To demonstrate the size of the partition, the City of Rawlins sent Cowboy State Daily some photos which show it’s some real cramped space.

The opening is only 12 inches by 12 inches.

In more photos, Rawlins Chief of Police Michael Ward demonstrated there’s not much room there. He can get his head through it but that’s it.

Somehow — and in true Florida Man fashion — Estes pulled off the Houdini-like escape.

But it lasted less than an hour as he crashed the vehicle about 70 miles later and then tried to escape again on foot. Seconds later, he was tackled and arrested once again but this time with many, many more charges.

He is now a guest of the Sweetwater County Detention Center facing charges of:

  • Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police Officers (WARRANT LONG FORM)
  • Escape from Official Detention
  • Reckless Driving 
  • Driving While License Cancelled, Suspended or Revoked – 2nd+ Offense 
  • Unlawful Possession – Powder or Crystalline < 3 Grams- 1st Offense
  • Vehicle Registration – Valid Title, Registration, Plates or Permits
  • Failure to Maintain Liability Coverage 
  • Arrest and Hold Order/PC Arrest for Probation/Parole Violation 
  • Unauthorized Use of Vehicles 

To the surprise of no one, bond is not being offered. Presumably because he may be viewed as a flight risk.

Sadly, calls to the Sweetwater County Detention Centers were not returned.

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Jimmy Orr

Executive Editor

A third-generation Wyomingite, Jimmy Orr is the executive editor and co-founder of Cowboy State Daily.