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Woman stole car, burned down ‘historic barn,’ stole another car, then tried to kidnap her own son from ex-husband: Prosecutors

Chontelle Shirk stole two vehicles and burned down a barn before she attempted to kidnap her son, prosecutors said. (Mugshot: Cumberland County District Attorney's Office)

Chontelle Shirk stole two vehicles and burned down a barn before she attempted to kidnap her son, prosecutors said. (Mugshot: Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office)

A woman was sentenced to prison for a wild crime spree in which she stole a friend’s car, destroyed a century-old barn, stole another vehicle, and tried to kidnap her own son.

Chontelle Melissa Shirk, 41, must spend six to 12 years behind bars for the chaotic events of Nov. 21, 2021, a judge ruled Monday.

Prosecutors in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, said it all started when she was riding in a friend’s vehicle as a passenger in the township of Carlisle.

“Shirk suddenly yelled for Kaitlin to get out of the car and began to act irrational,” prosecutors wrote. “Kaitlin was physically forced out of the car by Shirk and Shirk drove off with the vehicle.”

She drove that same car into a barn in Penn Township. Shirk set fire to that structure. The flames swallowed the “historic barn,” which had been built in the early 1900s. The fire also claimed many bales of hay and the stolen car.

Shirk then fled on foot and entered an attached garage without permission, stealing a Jeep Compass from the resident family, who was home at the time. The vehicle also contained a victim’s wallet, which had the person’s identification and credit cards.

Then, the defendant drove to her ex-husband’s home in Silver Spring Township. There, she tried to kidnap her biological son from his father and stepmother, prosecutors said. Shirk smashed a glass door with a baseball bat and partially entered the home, according to authorities.

“Shirk was yelling that she was there for the child,” prosecutors said. “On her way to that house, she had called a family member and told them she planned to kidnap the child. The family member called police in an effort to prevent harm to the child. Shirk fled when police arrived, nearly running over a police officer who attempted to stop her on foot.”

She kept fleeing and tried to evade capture by using “dangerous driving maneuvers,” but law enforcement ultimately caught her when state cops managed to stop the vehicle, authorities said.

While in custody, she said that she needed medical treatment — a lie meant to serve as yet another escape attempt, according to authorities. An attempted transport ended in chaos.

“During the car ride, she attempted to escape the police car by jumping through the partition, grabbing the steering wheel, and grabbing a firearm of an officer,” prosecutors said. “She hit the guards, sprayed mase [sic] and caused bodily injury to the guards. Shirk later admitted to the PA State Police that she had lied about needing medical attention in an attempt to escape during the transport.”

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Shirk ultimately pleaded guilty to burglary, robbery of a motor vehicle, theft by unlawful taking, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, criminal mischief, criminal attempt to kidnapping, criminal trespass, and aggravated assault of protected party.

Prosecutors said she will serve her term in state prison concurrent to a Dauphin County sentence. Records show she was sentenced to two to four years for a count of theft by unlawful taking in regard to an incident that happened Nov. 18, 2021. She also pleaded guilty in this matter.

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