Alleged Shoplifter Arrested After Police Chase

Photo courtesy of Linden Police Department

LINDEN – Last week, Linden police arrested an alleged shoplifter after a motor vehicle chase that ended in Elizabeth, officials said.

Bobby Christian, 45, of Belleville, was charged with eluding police, obstruction, and shoplifting. He also had contempt of court warrants out of Newark, East Newark, Nutley, and Springfield. He was transferred to the Union County Jail in lieu of $40,000 bail pending a court date.

On April 18 at 5:46 p.m., officers responded to a report of a shoplifter fleeing from the Pay Half Store in Linden Shopping Plaza on West Edgar Road. The manager heard the store’s anti-theft alarm sound and saw a man carrying a white garbage bag walk out the door. He called to the man to stop, but the suspect fled to a Nissan Altima occupied by three other people, which sped out of the parking lot.

Officer William Turbett III was on patrol driving south on West Edgar Road, also known as Routes 1&9, when he heard the broadcast and observed a vehicle fitting the description travelling north at South Stiles Street. He followed the suspect vehicle and attempted to get the driver to pull over, using his lights and siren. The Nissan sped away and Turbett pursued it into Elizabeth where it struck another vehicle and came to a stop, according to Linden police.

Four men from the Nissan ran from the vehicle in different directions. Turbett chased one suspect, Christian, and apprehended him in the driveway of a residence on the 400 block of Maple Avenue, with the assistance of Elizabeth police officers.

Several bystanders pointed out to police that a second man entered the local McDonald’s restaurant. Officer Stephanie Diaz entered the restaurant and arrested Derek Towler, 43, of Brooklyn, N.Y. He was charged with obstruction and held on $2,500 bail.

The other two men escaped apprehension. Police found a white garbage bag in the Nissan containing various clothing items valued at approximately $250 with Pay Half tags still attached, authorities said.

Turbett suffered bruises and scrapes on his hands and legs during the foot chase and apprehension. He did not require medical attention, according to police.

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