A suspected car thief from Toms River was captured by township police last week after an attentive officer came upon a vehicle whose plates came back stolen.
According to a statement from police, while on proactive patrol, just after 11 p.m Nov. 8, Officer Michael Weg noticed a vehicle that was reported stolen out of Bridgewater, with reported stolen dealer plates, at a traffic light on Route 37. The driver turned into a nearby parking lot, and Weg turned his overhead lights on and attempted to approach the vehicle.
The driver, later identified as Dylan Panatero 40 of Toms River, police said, “abruptly maneuvered out of the spot and exited the parking lot.”
At this point, a pursuit was initiated, the statement said, and the suspect continued to “drive recklessly at a high rate of speed, losing control of his vehicle, and ultimately colliding with a vehicle stopped at the light of Fischer Boulevard and Yellowbank Road.”
Panatero sustained a minor injury and was transported to Community Medical Center for treatment.
The other driver was treated at the scene by EMS and declined further treatment.
A second degree eluding charge was approved by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office against Panatero. A complaint warrant was generated charging Panatero with eluding, receiving stolen property, assault by auto, and crash with injury while suspended. Panatero was also issued several motor vehicle violations.
The stolen vehicle was impounded and the owner was notified.