I know this looks bad...
I know this looks bad...Thinkstock

Police in Petach Tikva managed to catch a thief red-handed on Thursday. Officers gave chase after seeing the thief take off with a stolen car on Etzel Street in the city.

The thief led police on a chase across the city. In his attempt to escape he ran red lights and drove against the direction of traffic, narrowly avoiding a collision.

Police managed to stop him by blocking his path with police vans. The thief, unsure of how to respond, swerved onto the sidewalk and hit a pole, bringing his wild ride to an end.

Despite having wrecked the car, the would-be thief continued to try to escape, this time running on foot. He was caught in seconds, at which point he offered officers an unusual excuse: he claimed to have been an innocent passerby.

The man attempted to convince the police that he had not been driving the stolen car at all, but had simply been confused with the thief because he was in the same area. “I got lost in the area. That car that hit the pole almost ran me over, because you were chasing him,” he accused.

“That’s why I was running away,” he added.

The officers, who had witnessed the chain of events, did not accept the thief’s story. The suspect, a 27-year-old Palestinian Arab man, was detained for questioning and then arrested.

‘I’m just a hitchhiker’
Earlier this month Border Police heard another creative excuse from a Palestinian car thief caught red-handed driving a stolen car. The man was stopped after encountering police while driving a car with the driver’s-side window smashed in, with a ski mask covering his face.

After stopping the car, police noted that the man had managed to start the car without its keys. A brief check showed that the car was owned by an Israeli man from Kfar Saba.

Despite the mounting evidence against him, the thief continued to attempt to convince officers that he was innocent. He told them that the car was not his, but denied having stolen it. He told them the car’s owner had offered him a ride, and then had abandoned the vehicle – forcing him to continue driving.

Officers were not convinced, and arrested the man for theft.