A car thief was captured by Lyndhurst police after crashing a brand-new SUV into a traffic signal during a pre-dawn chase, authorities said Monday.
Fredy Felix, 18, of Passaic started out walking the streets of Lyndhurst around 4:30 a.m., testing door handles for unlocked vehicles, several of which he found, Detective Sgt. Vincent Auteri said.
After taking an assortment of valuables from those cars, the sergeant said, Felix got into an unlocked 2019 Toyota RAV 4 purchased just days earlier -- and found the valet key in the glove compartment.
Soon after, Officer Mark Rivera tried pulling the vehicle over in the 300 block of Ridge Road after determining it might be stolen, Auteri said.
But Felix sped off.
A pursuit continued south on Ridge Road and then east on Kingsland Avenue before the vehicle crashed into a pedestrian traffic signal on the northwest corner of Riverside Avenue.
Although it was doing 60 miles an hour at the point of impact, an airbag saved Felix, the sergeant said.
Officers Matt Dudek and Angel Batista took him into custody.
Police charged Felix with motor vehicle theft, several counts of burglarizing motor vehicles and driving in an unsafe manner. He also received several summonses before being released pending court action.
“Felix believed he could outlast the pursuing officers but was overmatched by the excessive speed in which he began to travel,” Auteri said.
POLICE CONTINUE TO REPEAT over and over that car thieves and burglars today don't break into cars -- they simply test door handles until they find one that's open. Then they quickly check the areas in the vehicle where ignorant owners would most likely put their fobs. Then they're gone with your valuables.
Unfortunately, they say, not enough people are intelligent enough to heed the advice. Day after day, police through Bergen County are fielding reports of either stolen items -- or the vehicles themselves being swiped outright.Victims rarely get their vehicles back. And while insurance can cover theft, companies will also increase victims' rates because of their carelessness.
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