A pair of alleged serial thieves accused of stealing from cars in parking lots for gyms and shopping plazas were arrested Thursday, after a wild car chase that started when the suspects were spotted by an off-duty police officer.
Brick Township Police Officer Kevin Ryan was leaving the LA Fitness gym in Brick Plaza around 2 p.m. when he heard a car alarm going off, town police said. The alarm was coming from a tan Chevy pickup truck, and parked next to the truck was a minivan that matched the description of the vehicle used by alleged car burglars while traveling across the state over the past several week, according to Brick Police.
Ryan called in what he saw, and an on-duty officer arrived minutes later. The suspects saw the police cruiser pull into the parking lot, police said, and they immediately took off in a hurry, ignoring pedestrians in the shopping plaza.
The car, chased by the arriving officer, sped through a nearby residential neighborhood across from the plaza, along Aurora Place and Bryn Mawr Drive. Police said that the officer stopped chasing after the minivan out of safety concerns, and that other police units had moved into the area.
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Law enforcement watched from a distance as the van continued to drive erratically and flee dangerously through town, as it at one point drove against the flow of traffic, heading east in the westbound lanes of Route 70. Several other drivers were run off the road during the wild escape, police said, in order to avoid colliding.
Eventually, the driver of the minivan crashed into an Audi with two people inside at the intersection of Burnt Tavern Road and Maple Avenue, according to Brick Police, causing the Audi to overturn and disabling the minivan.
From there, the suspects attempted to flee on foot. The driver, identified as 42-year-old Andrew Williams, of Brooklyn, ran to another vehicle that was stopped at the light, trying to pull the driver out, said police. The woman inside was still wearing her seatbelt and couldn't be moved, and with officers closing in, Williams ran to an unmarked police car.
He tried to steal that vehicle, police said, but two officers got to him and pulled him out of the vehicle before placing him under arrest.
The passenger in the minivan, 49-year-old Louis Candelario, also from Brooklyn, was arrested shortly after trying to run from the accident on foot.
Both Williams and Candelario face charges of burglary, theft, criminal mischief and obstructing justice. Williams additionally faces charges of carjacking, aggravated assault, resisting arrest and more, including dozens of motor vehicle violations.
It was not clear if either men had hired attorneys.