Wild Chase Across Clifton Rooftops: Passaic Sheriff's Officers Nab Stolen Car Thief After Crash

A wild chase along Clifton rooftops ended when a 17-year-old repeat offender who crashed a stolen Jeep was nabbed by Passaic County sheriff’s officers.

Passaic County sheriff
Passaic County sheriff Photo Credit:

Undercover narcotics detectives were headed east on Route 46 in Little Falls just after 2 p.m. Wednesday when they spotted a black Jeep reported stolen from a nearby Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik said.

It was being followed by a Mercedes Benz that was reported stolen out of Little Falls the day before, authorities said.

A sheriff's detective pulled up next to the Jeep and spotted the driver with a hood pulled tightly around his face, Berdnik said.

The Newark driver – who was wanted by police in three towns -- then began cutting in and out of traffic, looking back as he went, with the Mercedes close behind.

Both eventually got onto eastbound Route 3.

Clifton Police Officer Ryan Maloney tried stopping the vehicles near the Passaic Avenue exit, but both roared off, Clifton Detective Lt. Robert Bracken said.

The pursuit continued onto southbound Route 21, where the Jeep struck a parked vehicle, Bracken said.

This caused another crash -- between the sheriff's vehicle and Maloney's car, rending both inoperable, he said.

Both stolen vehicles kept going.

The Mercedes vanished, but the Jeep hit another car and the driver bailed out, said Berdnik.

He "took to running along the rooftops of nearby houses,” with officers chasing him, the sheriff said.

Eventually, the teen jumped from a roof and was quickly subdued, he said.

Authorities issued delinquency complaints accusing the teen of eluding and receiving stolen property.

He was sent to the juvenile detention center after authorities learned that he also was wanted out of Belleville, Clifton and Little Falls for various crimes, the sheriff said.

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