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Car thieves crash, abandon stolen Closter, Rockland vehicles in police chase

Photo Credit: Courtesy PALISADES INTERSTATE PARKWAY PD

UPDATE: A band of thieves crashed a stolen Jeep into an Alpine police cruiser and abandoned two other vehicles during a wild chase with police that began in Closter after an elderly resident left his keys in his car.

Closter Patrolman Daniel Hargrove spotted the driver of the borough resident’s 2008 Audi, stolen from Wainwright Court, on the town’s east hill at 4:50 a.m., Detective Vincent Aiello told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

In front of it was a Honda Odyssey with its lights off.

Hargrave activated his patrol cruiser’s lights and both vehicles pulled over — the Audi behind the minivan — on Piermont Road between Vervalen Street and Homans Avenue.

Both Audi occupants bailed, leaving it in drive, and got into the Odyssey, which was bumped from behind by the Audi, Aiello said.

Hargave chased the van, which made a left onto Closter Dock Road heading east into Alpine and quickly vanished down a side street.

Officers from Closter, Alpine and the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police were searching for the van when it suddenly barreled back onto Closter Dock Road, along with a Jeep, the detective said.

The van driver took a right onto 9W heading south.

The blue Jeep Grand Cherokee slammed into the driver’s side of an Alpine police car and kept going in the same direction, Alpine Police Chief Chris Belcolle told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

The officer wasn’t seriously injured, he said.

PIP Police Officers Michael Griffin and Joseph Villone picked up the chase of the Jeep on 9W, driving through Tenafly, Englewood Cliffs and into Fort Lee, where the Jeep driver lost control on the southbound Route 9W ramp to southbound Fletcher Avenue, Palisades Interstate Parkway Police Chief Michael Coppola told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

The Jeep barreled through the ramp and onto the southbound PIP ramp to Route 9W/Lemoine Avenue before it went over a guardrail, struck several trees, overturned and landed at the bottom of a ditch.

Police converged on the Jeep — which had been reported stolen out of Sparkill — but it was empty.

“A perimeter was set up and officers from several agencies, including Fort Lee and Bergen County Police K-9, conducted an area canvas, with negative results,” said.

The minivan crashed into the curbing as it entered the parking lot of the southbound PIP Sunoco station.

“Bystanders reported that three occupants fled the vehicle just after the crash,” Coppola said.

The Audi was brought to the Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification in Hackensack to be examined for evidence.

Meanwhile, police in Closter and Alpine fielded reports of vehicles broken into overnight, with various items stolen.

PHOTO: Courtesy PALISADES INTERSTATE PARKWAY PD

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