Wilbraham, MA - 3 Teens Steal Springfield Unmarked Police Car - Teens Didn't Know It Was A Police Car - Chase - Stop Sticks - K9 Gets Them

February 29, 2016

masslive.com

Three Springfield teens are facing charges after leading police on a chase through Wilbraham and Palmer early Saturday in what turned out to be a unmarked Springfield police car that had been stolen, officials said.

The three teens, who are ages 14, 15, and 16, were each charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle. The 14-year-old is also facing charges in Wilbraham as part of the pursuit, according to police.

None of their names were released to the press because of their ages.

A fourth suspect apparently escaped, according to police.

The car turned out to have been an unmarked police vehicle being used by the Narcotics Unit in a drug investigation, said Springfield police spokesman Sgt. John Delaney.

He said it is more than likely that none of them knew it was a police vehicle until afterward.

An unmarked car, unlike a police cruiser or a detective vehicle, is just like any private vehicle. There is no two-way radio, portable computer, flashing lights and siren, or anything else to indicate it was a police vehicle, Delaney said.

There were no weapons in the car when it was stolen, he said, adding that the car was apparently targeted for use in a joy ride.

"They didn't realize what they were in," he said.

The car was taken from Worthington Street near Primo's Pizza, according to Delaney.

When Springfield police noticed the car had been stolen, they sent an advisory out to all regional police departments.

Hours later, a Wilbraham police officer spotted the car traveling on Route 20 and attempted to pull it over. The car sped off and the officer gave pursuit.

The chase continued along route 20 into Palmer, where Palmer police deployed Stop Sticks to flatten its tires, Wilbraham police said.

Four suspects got out and ran into the woods.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, trooper Matthew Baird and his dog partner Caber arrived on scene and began tracking suspects. The dog followed a scent down the street, through several backyards and a parking lot, over a fence and along some railroad tracks.

The dog led police to a porch where two boys were standing. Both ignored a command to stay put and ran off, only to be tracked down again by Caber a short distance away.

Each was taken into custody.

A short time later, a third teen who had been hiding emerged and surrendered to police, state police said. The three are scheduled to be arraigned in Springfield Juvenile Court.