Paramus police -- no longer hamstrung by limits on pursuits -- captured a trio of teenage car thieves who crashed into a tree off Route 17 after they were caught prowling local neighborhoods, authorities said.
Officer Kevin Grady was on patrol when he spotted the ski-masked bandits from Kearny scoping out vehicles around Polly Ann Terrace and Ivanhoe Drive in a Honda CRV shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday, May 4, Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said.
Grady tried to stop the SUV, which had been reported stolen out of Livingston, the chief said.
The driver, 19-year-old Jason Cathcart, hit the gas instead, he said.
Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced last Friday that police in New Jersey can now pursue stolen vehicle thieves. Officers and officials at all levels of law enforcement in the state welcomed the news with one caveat: A repeal or readjustment of bail reform must be next.
With Grady in pursuit, Cathcart turned onto Midland Avenue and then northbound Route 17 early Wednesday before exiting onto Sears Drive, where the Honda struck a curb and then a tree, disabling it, the chief said.
All three then bailed out and ran, Ehrenberg said.
Grady grabbed both Cathcart and one of the juveniles. Officer Nich Perna nabbed the other.
Cathcart was booked on charges of eluding police and possession of a stolen vehicle, then was released pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.
Delinquency complaints alleging the same offenses were signed against the juveniles, both 16, who also were released pending a closed-door hearing in the Family Part of Superior Court, also in Hackensack.
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