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Car with Pittsburgh police inside gets unexpected occupant

| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 5:53 p.m.

Pittsburgh police arrested a Highland Park woman outside a Strip District club early Saturday when they said she tried to steal an unmarked police car with two officers inside.

Ria Buford, 32, is charged with robbery of a motor vehicle, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness stemming from the 2:15 a.m. incident outside Club Xtaza on Smallman Street. She could not be reached for comment.

Officer Garrett Spory wrote in a police affidavit that he and two other officers were on plainclothes patrol around the club, which was hosting a Wiz Khalifa concert after-party. The officers were sitting in an idling car in front of the club when the officer in the driver's seat stepped out to take a phone call.

Spory said that a group of five to six people in front of the car “had clearly noticed our undercover vehicle” when Buford walked over and sat down in the driver's seat.

Spory said he yelled, “Pittsburgh police, get out of the vehicle, now! You're under arrest!” and displayed his badge. Buford, who smelled of alcohol, put her hands on the steering wheel and said she was going to drive the car to her own car, according to the affidavit.

“We were both terrified that she was going to attempt to drive away with both of us in the vehicle,” Spory wrote.

Spory ran to the driver's side to pull Buford from the car when a man grabbed the officer's shirt, told Spory not to put his hands on Buford and attempted to shove the officer away.

Spory said he told the man he was under arrest, but the man continued fighting. Spory tackled him, and another officer assisted in putting him in handcuffs. The man refused to identify himself and was taken to jail, police said.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.

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