In the early hours of August 20th, Wayne Police Officers swiftly responded to a distress call on Oak Hill Drive, detailing the presence of several young males wearing ski masks.
According to Wayne Police Captain Dan Daly, these individuals reportedly attempted to enter a residence and parked vehicles.
Captain Daly said their actions escalated when they tried to open the rear door of a home and fiddled with car door handles in the driveway. Responding officers promptly scoured the area, leading Officer David Talerico to a suspicious occupied vehicle on Timberline Drive.
As Talerico approached, the car sped past him, revealing four ski-masked males and a shattered rear passenger-side window. The lack of a rear license plate heightened suspicions.
Captain Daly said efficient coordination among the officers enabled them to create a perimeter. Officer Liam Morrissey spotted the suspect vehicle and alerted his colleagues.
Officer Talerico initiated a pursuit on Ratzer Road, but the suspects' evasive driving tactics, including nearly colliding with Officer Dan McDermott's patrol car, escalated the situation.
According to Captain Daly, the chase transitioned onto various roads, involving dangerous maneuvers, until the suspects drove the wrong way on Route 23. To ensure public safety, the pursuit was called off. However, it resumed when the suspects reentered the correct lane.
The suspects eventually exited onto Route 80 East, leading to Totowa. Captain Daly said the vehicle stopped near the New Jersey State Police Totowa Barracks, prompting the suspects to flee on foot into nearby woods.
Officers Talerico, McDermott, and Dan McLaughlin apprehended one suspect hindered by mud. Additional law enforcement agencies participated in the search, including K-9 units, a drone, and an NJSP helicopter. Wayne Police Sergeant Corey Stevens oversaw operations while Detective Nick Henriquez and Detective Sergeant Ryan Vallaro processed the stolen vehicle for evidence.
Captain Daly said a further investigation confirmed that the stolen vehicle was taken from Irvington at night.
A 911 call reported a male crossing Route 46. Subsequently, officers found discarded wet clothing and apprehended a suspect hiding in a nearby shipping container. The suspects, aged 16 and 14, were from Newark.
They faced multiple charges, including Receiving Stolen Property, Possession of Burglar Tools, Resisting Arrest, and more. The 16-year-old was released per juvenile justice reform guidelines, while the 14-year-old, also wanted in Newark, was sent to Essex County Juvenile Detention Center.
This incident echoed a recent similar event in Wayne, where stolen vehicles were accessed through unlocked doors and windows.