Decatur Police arrest woman after unexpected Monday morning tour of city

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt September 24, 2013

Shelly Riffe

Two women in a stolen vehicle led Decatur Police on a “follow” Monday morning, according to a report provided by Decatur PD.

To casual observers, this would be known as a “chase.” But Decatur Police have a limited-chase policy, so in the technical sense, it wasn’t a chase. It was a “follow” police said. Police officers trailed the vehicle “with normal traffic flow, no emergency equipment and no pursuit.”

“Again, there was no police chase/pursuit at any point during these events,” police added.

The unofficial tour of Decatur went through several neighborhoods and got the attention of locals seeking more information.

The locals wondered, “What was the story behind that orderly procession of police cars following a vehicle that was moving briskly down one of our local roadways?” asked police officials what happened and they provided a summary. is deviating its usual policy of not naming suspects due to the nature of the incident.

Here’s the whole story.

Around 10:45 Monday morning, a Decatur Police officer was patrolling the 500 block of Church Street when the officer received an alert from the vehicle’s automatic license plate reader. (Editor’s note: Did you know they have those now? I didn’t.) The license plate reader told the officer that he had just passed a stolen vehicle headed south from his current location, a 2013 Dodge Charger with Indiana plates.

The officer learned that the Chamblee Police Department reported the vehicle stolen Sept. 21. The officer waited for backup units to arrive and together they followed the suspects. The officer tried to pull over the Dodge Charger.

That’s when things got real.

The officer turned on his lights and siren. The driver responded by turning left off East Ponce onto North Candler Street. As officers followed, the driver started booking it south on Commerce Drive.

The officers stopped following the car due to the city’s limited chase policy.

Officers noted that the driver and passenger were both women and the driver had blond hair.

Nearby, two other officers were listening to the chase on their radios while they were canvassing the area and spotted the car at the intersection of East Trinity Place and East College Avenue. The officers followed the Charger through the city of Decatur for several blocks while they waited for backup. When the vehicle got to the 1100 block of Adams Street, the officers turned on their blue lights.

That’s when things got even more real.

Officers got out of their police car, pointed their weapons at the Charger now headed in their direction and ordered the driver to stop. The driver drove off the road “at a high rate of speed and traveled through the yard of 1122 Adams Street destroying yard lights and leaving drag marks in the grass,” the report says.

“The vehicle then traveled head on towards a police vehicle and then sped with no regard for public safety across West Pharr Road,” the report continues. “The vehicle was then observed traveling through a stop sign at East Lake Drive and Knox Street.”

Officers lost the vehicle and resumed their search.

Around 11:15 a.m., a female officer told dispatch that she spotted the Charger parked at West College Avenue and Adams Street. The Charger was empty and both windows were rolled down. Officers from Decatur and Agnes Scott College Police began searching the nearby neighborhoods. They spotted their suspects near campus on East Dougherty Street two blocks from West College Avenue and Adams Street, police said.

The driver started running through the woods toward the school’s observatory. Police detained her passenger.

Officers caught up with the blond-haired driver, identified as Shelly Riffe, 32, running south on South Candler Street.

Police caught her after giving her “several lawful commands” to stop running. During the foot chase, one of the officers cut his hand. He was taken to DeKalb Medical Center for treatment.

When officers searched Riffe, they reported finding a counterfeit $20 bill in her right front pocket. Decatur Police brought both women in for questioning. Riffe took responsibility and said her passenger had no idea what was happening. Police released the passenger without charging her.

Riffe had an arrest warrent issued by the Athens Clarke County Sheriff’s Office for missing a court date on a traffic violation and also had a suspended license.

She faces the following charges:

– Theft by Receiving (motor vehicle)

– Forgery (second degree)

– Two counts of Obstruction of an officer (misdemeanor and felony),

– Fleeing and attempting to elude (Editor’s note: while not being chased, mind.)

– Operating a motor vehicle while license suspended or revoked

– Reckless driving (Editor’s note: Yathink?)

– Driving on wrong side of roadway

– Failure to maintain lane

She was still in jail, as of Tuesday.

So, Oakhurst folks, that’s the story. Please remember who told ya first. (Editor’s note: Hint, that’s us.)

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Red

    Great story Dan. Keep up the good work!

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