West Hartford Police apprehended four juveniles and seized a firearm following the crash of a stolen vehicle on Park Road early Thursday morning. [Updated]
By Ronni Newton
Four juveniles, including the driver, in a 2016 Jeep Cherokee stolen from New Britain were apprehended by West Hartford Police overnight after they allegedly burglarized at least five other cars and then lost control of the SUV and crashed into a tree at the corner of Park and Thomson roads.
According to Capt. Michael Perruccio, police received a report at 12:49 a.m. Thursday about a suspicious vehicle in the area of 57 Ledgewood Rd. The caller’s dog had started barking, which alerted him.
Police said they were notified that occupants of the vehicle had been “going house to house checking for unlocked car doors.”
The vehicle fled when it was approached by a police officer, and sped off, heading north on Overbrook Road toward Park Road.
Police said that the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a fence and a tree at 550 Park Rd., near the intersection with Thomson Road.
According to police, there were five occupants of the car, and all fled on foot following the crash. Police were able to apprehend four of them, including the driver. K-9 units from Hartford and Bristol assisted in the successful track.
Police seized a firearm, that had its serial number destroyed, which was found in the Jeep.
One of the juveniles who fled the scene is still at large, police said.
The Jeep sustained significant damage, police said.
A police investigation indicated that at least five vehicles on Ledgwood Road were found to have been burglarized. All had been left unlocked.
The four juveniles taken into custody were charged with five counts of third-degree burglary, second-degree larceny, interfering with an officer, weapons in a motor vehicle, and possession of a firearm with an altered identification mark.
Police said that the driver was also charged with several motor vehicle violations, including reckless driving.
Three of the juveniles were released to a parent with a juvenile summons, but one was brought to the juvenile detention facility on Broad Street in Hartford with a “Take into Custody” order stemming from an unrelated incident, police said.
One of the juvenile suspects was transported to John Dempsey Hospital by ambulance for evaluation of minor injuries sustained in the collision.
Police said that one of the juveniles had been previously arrested in West Hartford for similar crimes.
A West Hartford resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, captured video of the juveniles fleeing from police in the Thomson Road area.
“We can’t say it enough,” Perruccio said. “There seems to be a widely accepted thought among juveniles that cars are left unlocked.”
For about a year the West Hartford Police posted a daily #9PMRoutine reminder on social media, urging residents to remember to lock their cars and safeguard their valuables when they settled in for the night. Perruccio reiterated the importance of keeping your car in the garage if possible, and if not, ensuring that the doors are locked, windows are closed, and valuable items are not visible.
In Thursday’s incident, people could have been seriously injured.
Police received two other calls Thursday morning involving reports of stolen vehicles on Woodrow and Brookline. Those incidents are under investigation and further information was not available.
A friend of the person whose fence and yard sustained extensive damage due to the juveniles crashing the Jeep has set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $1,500 to assist with the deductible the homeowner is facing for repairing the damage. Click here for more information about the GoFundMe campaign.
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