Lacey police are investigating the theft of a red Jeep Cherokee stolen from Waretown by two suspects who later fled the scene, Police Chief David A. Paprota said.
Officer Adam Ewart was on patrol in a marked police vehicle at 2:19 a.m. when he saw the vehicle traveling north on Route 9, without working tail lights and failing to maintain a lane, the chief said.
Ewart pulled up behind the vehicle as it made a left turn heading west on Lacey Road. The officer activated the patrol vehicle’s overhead lights and attempted to a motor vehicle stop. The operator of the Jeep failed to pull to the side of the roadway and instead continued traveling west on Lacey Road before turning onto Hoffman Road in Forked River, Paprota said.
The driver and the passenger of the vehicle both jumped from the moving vehicle and fled the scene on foot. The driverless vehicle continued on Hoffman Road until it crashed into a fence and a tree.
Ewart pursued the subjects in the darkness on foot. He briefly caught the driver in the backyard of a nearby residence, but the man resisted arrest and fought Ewart, Paprota said.The male subject then escaped and jumped over a fence. Ewart sustained an arm injury and was treated at Southern Ocean County Medical Center, the chief said.
Both subjects were white males in their early 20s. The driver is described as a white male with some facial hair (slight beard) who was wearing a grey sweatshirt at the time of the incident.
Police discovered that the red, 2000, 4-door Jeep Cherokee involved had just been stolen from 94 Atlantic Avenue in Waretown, the chief said.
The incident is currently under investigation by Lacey Township detectives and forensic specialists from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Unit, Paprota said.
Anyone with information regarding the identity of the subjects who stole the vehicle from Waretown and fled the scene in Lacey are asked to call Detective Brian Flynn at 609-693-6636 ext. 2593 or submit an anonymous crime tip through the department’s website at www.laceypd.org/crime-tips.