Springfield officer, a former OSU linebacker, chases down back-t - KPTV - FOX 12

Springfield officer, a former OSU linebacker, chases down back-to-back theft suspects

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John Michael Shafer, Michael Lee Fletcher, jail booking photos John Michael Shafer, Michael Lee Fletcher, jail booking photos
Officer Keith Pankey (Photo: Springfield Police Department) Officer Keith Pankey (Photo: Springfield Police Department)
SPRINGFIELD, OR (KPTV) -

A Springfield police officer who played linebacker for the Oregon State University football team chased down back-to-back Safeway theft suspects.

Officer Keith Pankey responded to a theft at the store on the 1800 block of Pioneer Parkway at 5:10 p.m. Saturday.

The suspect, 40-year-old John Michael Shafer of Eugene, ran away after being confronted by store security workers.

Pankey found the suspect nearby, but police said Shafer attempted to run away from the officer and former NCAA athlete.

"Shafer could not outrun Pankey and was caught and taken into custody," according to the Springfield Police Department.

Pankey returned to the store with Shafer at 5:30 p.m. After getting out of his patrol car, Pankey was directed toward store security chasing after another theft suspect.

Pankey ran down the second suspect on Q Street near 2nd Street. The second suspect was identified as Micheal Lee Fletcher, 29, a transient in Eugene. 

The two suspects and their thefts were not related. Both suspects were both booked into jail on third-degree theft charges.

Springfield police touted Pankey's football background with the Beavers.

"Keith Pankey is still chasing and catching runners even though his last Division 1 tackle as a senior at Oregon State University occurred in 2012," according to Springfield police.

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