NJ fugitive who stole cop car caught in CT

November 18, 2010 3:21:39 AM PST
The search for a dangerous fugitive who eluded police in New Jersey by stealing their cruiser has come to a peaceful end in Connecticut.

Police say 27-year-old Jose Rodriguez, of the Bronx, was arrested without incident at the Microtel Inn and Suites motel in Uncasville, near the Mohegan Sun Casino, just after 3:30 a.m. He had been on the run since Wednesday afternoon, when police arrested him Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Rodriguez initially refused to open the door, but officers pushed their way in and took him into custody.

Officers with an NYPD task force had wanted to question him about several shootings in the Bronx, and they handcuffed him and shackled his legs before putting him in the squad car. They went to search Rodriguez' car, where they found a loaded gun, but while they were searching, the suspect was able to escape in the car.

He somehow managed to maneuver from the back seat to the front seat, and police say he used a key on the same ring as the ignition key to remove the shackles. The car was found abandoned five miles later in Ridgefield.

Rodriguez' escape prompted a 25-minute lockdown at Fort Lee Elementary School No. 2, a move school officials said they made as a precaution.

Rodriguez was charged with being a fugitive from justice, based on a New York state warrant. He has at least seven prior arrests, including possession of marijuana and robbery. He also was wanted on a parole violation stemming from a drug-sale conviction.

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