MILFORD — Three arrests were made and several more expected after eight new vehicles were stolen from a Milford automobile dealership Tuesday morning and later found around Dover, police said.
Two 16-year-olds and a 20-year-old were apprehended following an afternoon car chase in Dover, according to authorities.
They fled from a 2019 black Dodge Charger police model (not equipped with emergency equipment) in the downtown area and were quickly taken into custody, Dover police spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said.
The sequence began at 7:40 a.m. when Milford police officers were called to i.g. Burton on North Rehoboth Boulevard for the reported thefts.
Through fingerprint evidence and surveillance video review suspect leads emerged, Milford police spokesman Det. John Horsman said.
Five police model Dodge Chargers were missing, along with two Dodge Durangos and a Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab.
Police said keys were taken following a forced entry into i.g. Burton, which is connected to an Enterprise Rental Car office.
The Delaware State Police Bureau of Identification confirmed fingerprint evidence within about an hour, Det. Horsman said. On Wednesday, local police detectives continued to evaluate evidence that pointed to identifying suspects.
All the vehicles were recovered by 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, police said. The vehicles were impounded at several locations.
Six of eight vehicles suffered varying amounts of damage said Det. Horsman, who said apparent driver inexperience led to parking lot crashes. A school bus was struck.
‘Juveniles, young adults’
Police described the remaining suspects as “several juveniles and young adults,” and said more information would be released when available.
Since mid-June at least 20 Dover teens have been arrested or sought in unrelated felony cases involving shootings, stolen vehicles firearm, assault, drug, armed robbery and gang-related charges, according to police reports.
The police model Chargers stolen Tuesday were not part of any law enforcement agency’s fleet, Det. Horsman said.
The Dover chase began in the North New Street vicinity and police said three occupants exited when the vehicle stopped near Lakewood Place and Ross Street.
The vehicle remained in drive as the suspects fled and it crashed into a tree. The stolen vehicle reached a speed of approximately 70 miles per hour through a residential area, police wrote in a probable cause affidavit.
Six unoccupied vehicles were located in Dover throughout the afternoon and evening, police said.
A vehicle chase ensued in the Camden area after a stolen gray Dodge Durango was spotted at approximately 8:30 p.m., police said. After an unsuccessful vehicle stop in the area of Upper King and Walnut Shade Roads, pursuit followed through town.
Eventually the vehicle traveled across all lanes of U.S. 13 near Auto Zone, police said. Three suspects fled and were not apprehended, police said.
Following the first chase, driver Darius Payne-Bennett, 20, of Dover, was charged with disregard police signal, receiving stolen property (four counts), reckless endangering (two counts), resisting arrest, third-degree conspiracy, multiple traffic offenses, disorderly conduct and a capias.
He was released on an own recognizance bond.
Jermaine Walker, 16, of Felton, was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, a capias and third-degree conspiracy then released on unsecured bond.
Patience McCrea, 16, of Dover, was not charged for the incident, but released on unsecured bond for a previous capias, police said.
Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org