FARMINGTON, Conn. — For months, FOX61 has been reporting on the sharp rise in vehicle thefts and property crime across Connecticut. On Monday, one of those incidents nearly cost a police officer his life.
Farmington Police said, under the cover of darkness, a thief was prowling around the Forest Condominium Complex on Talcott Forest Road in Farmington.
The suspect, a man, was allegedly crawling under the vehicles of residents around 1:00 a.m. and cutting out catalytic converters.
"I do know there is some precious metals within these exhaust pipes and clearly there is a market out there,” Tim McKenzie of the Farmington Police Department told FOX61 on Monday.
A Farmington police officer located the suspect and parked his cruiser behind the suspect’s vehicle. When the officer got out to confront the suspect, the suspect hit reverse and pinned the officer against his cruiser.
"The officer suffered some very serious injuries. He’s in a lot of pain," McKenzie said.
The suspect fled while the officer collapsed.
"I just yelled and said I’m a nurse do you guys need any help,” Elizabeth Townsend, a resident and nurse who tended to the injured officer, told FOX61 News exclusively. “I asked him if he could move anything he said, ‘no I can’t.’ I said ‘OK, don’t.’"
The suspect, who was driving a stolen vehicle out of Middletown, went careening over speed bumps until he got to the end of the condo complex, bailed out and ran into the woods. Police dogs were brought in to try and find the suspect, with no luck.
"I hope this officer is OK and I hope they do catch these guys," said Watusi Rios.
For residents, their sense of security was shaken by senseless crime.
"It’s super weird," said Esther Ordonez of Farmington. "This is a very quiet neighborhood so I didn’t even think that those things would happen here."
"My dog was barking and I heard a big noise and then I just saw a lot of lights," said resident Annette Martin.
"One time I had my car parked out here for a week and it was unlocked with the window down and money on the console. You could walk by and see it and I didn’t have a problem," said Rios.
Towsend said: "I'm scared, scared for my kids. I have two daughters 13 and 19 and I was just scared thinking about them. They walk the dogs sometimes at night."
Farmington police said it’s a miracle that the officer, who is not being identified, wasn’t killed. The officer was taken to St. Francis Hospital and did have surgery Monday.
Any witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to contact the Farmington Police Department at 860-675-2400. Farmington PD Case # is 21-13367.
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