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Stolen Car Thief Bails, Caught After Consecutive Crashes On PIP Near GWB

Mario Rodriguez
Mario Rodriguez Photo Credit: BCJ

A stolen car thief was caught by Palisades Interstate Parkway police after back-to-back crashes near the George Washington Bridge, authorities said.

Mario Rodriguez, 21, of the Bronx was captured as he and a companion ran from the scene of the second early-morning crash in Fort Lee, PIP Police Lt. Raymond Walter said.

Despite being charged with 26 crimes, records show, Rodriguez was ordered released from the Bergen County Jail by a Superior Court judge in Hackensack the following day.

A motorist alerted officers to two SUVs – one a Mercedes Benz, the other a Mazda -- being driven erratically down the parkway in Alpine shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Officer Amir Sikder was parked on the median in Tenafly when he saw the Mazda tailgating another vehicle, Walter said.

When the officer tried to pull him over, the Mazda driver hit the gas and began weaving in and out of traffic, passing other vehicles on the shoulder, he said.

Not wanting to put the public in jeopardy, Sikder immediately pulled back.

About a mile and a half down the road, the Mazda had a fender bender with another vehicle on the Fort Lee off-ramp. It then hit another vehicle – only this time it disabled the Mazda.

Rodriguez was caught after he and another man bailed out, Walter said.

The second suspect eluded a dragnet assembled by PIP police and their colleagues from Fort Lee, the Port Authority and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, he said.

The Mazda, it turned out, had been stolen out of Connecticut and bore Pennsylvania license plates that belonged to another vehicle, the lieutenant said.

Inside police found proceeds from other crimes that Walter said were committed in upstate New York, along with a small amount of drugs.

Rodriguez was charged with eluding, 10 counts of ID theft, seven counts of receiving stolen property, six counts of receiving stolen credit cards, as well as conspiracy and drug possession.

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