SALT LAKE CITY — After more than six hours of hiding from police, Shane Paul Owen apparently couldn't wait to turn himself in.
"Can you hurry?" an impatient, and possibly cold Owen tells a Salt Lake police dispatcher in a recording of his surrender call to police.
For most of the night, Owen, had tried to avoid capture by running away and hiding from officers. But when he became stuck in the basement boiler room of an old, vacant church, he conceded the only way he was going to get out was with the help of police and called dispatchers.
"This is Shane Owen, I want to turn myself in,” he tells the dispatcher. "I couldn't tell you where I am."
Owen, 46, of South Salt Lake, tried to hide from police late Monday by breaking into the vacant church at 852 W. 1500 North, police say. But after entering a boiler room inside the structure, he soon realized there were no door handles on the inside of the room. Owen had locked himself inside the room with no way to get out, according to police.
"I think he knew he was at a point he was done. He wasn't in distress. He just could not figure a way out of there and knew he was trapped," said Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke.
The long standoff began Monday night when the Metro Gang Unit, along with members of some of Unified Police Department's other investigative units, went looking for Owen. Lohrke said Owen, who is known throughout the valley by several police agencies as a "career criminal," had warrants out for his arrest in addition to being a suspect in a recent string of burglaries.
Based on a tip, police looked for Owen in the Woods Cross area and spotted him about 10:30 p.m., he said. Officers attempted to pull Owen over, but he fled. Backup officers set up tire spikes almost immediately, according to Lohrke.
Shortly after having his tires spiked, Owen got out of his car near 850 West and 1500 North and broke into the old church through a window, he said. Based on his past criminal history, officers were concerned about the possibility of Owen being armed. Salt Lake police were called, since the church was in their jurisdiction, and they assisted Unified police by calling out a SWAT team and surrounding the church.
About 5 a.m. Tuesday, after several failed attempts to make contact with Owen and have him surrender, officers were about to enter the church when Salt Lake police dispatchers received a call from Owen.
"They’ve had me tied up here all night,” he tells the dispatcher in the recording when describing who he is. “I’m not going to be able to put my hands up and climb out."
Owen asked the dispatcher to speak directly to the officers outside.
"I need to talk to them first so they don’t … shoot me,” he said.
Owen's call was transferred to a commander outside the boiler room, but Lohrke said officers were initially "hesitant and skeptical."
"They didn't want to walk into an ambush situation," he said.
Officers "went in methodically," the lieutenant said. When they got to the boiler room, they used a robot from the Salt Lake Fire Department to confirm he was inside.
"Through the phone contact we wanted to make sure he did not have any weapons on him, so we told him to make sure his hands were visible," Lohrke said.
After seeing that he was complying with their orders, police opened the door and took Owen into custody without incident.5 comments on this story
Drugs were recovered as Owen was arrested, Lohrke said.
He was booked on his outstanding warrants for retaliation against a witness, drug distribution and identity fraud. He was charged with multiple counts of felony drug distribution in May, according to court records. A warrant in that case was issued on July 19.
In June, Owen was charged with threatening his brother for going to police after Owen stole his brother's identity, including his Social Security number, for which he was charged in a separate case, according to court documents.