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Multi-State Chase Was Triggered When TPD Officer's Car Broken Into, Badge Stolen

Nov 14, 2014 08:35AM ● By Bill Gilman

New details have emerged regarding the wild seven-town police chase that began in Tewksbury and ended in Pelham, NH, Tuesday night.

The Lowell Sun is reporting the incident began when the car of an off duty police officer was broken into in the parking lot of the Tewksbury Sports Club.

Taken in the break in was the officer’s purse, which contained her credit cards and identification, as well as her police badge.

Tewksbury Police immediately began a search for a white van seen leaving the area. When the vehicle was spotted in the parking lot of Motel 6, a license plate check revealed the can had been reported stolen out of Billerica.

Tewksbury Police tried to pull the vehicle over but the driver, later identified as Michael Steele of Wakefield, fled in the direction of Lowell. Thus began a chase that continued for almost an hour, through seven communities and two states, reaching top speeds of 60 MPH. It finally ended in Pelham, with the use of "stop sticks" to flatten the tires of the van.

Pasengers Erin Casoli of Saugus, and Michael LaCrosse Woburn, were arrested after the van was stopped using stop sticks in Pelham.  Steele was arrested after a foot chase, during which he kicked a police dog and hurt his own leg in the process.

According to The Sun, Casoli and LaCrosse were arraigned Wednesday in Salem, District court, charged with receiving stolen property, possession of narcotics and transporting narcotics in a vehicle. Steele was treated for his leg injury at Parkland Hospital in Derry and then arraigned Thursday charged with receiving stolen property, operating after suspension, disobeying an officer, resisting arrest, willful interference with police dogs, possession of controlled/narcotic drugs, transportation of drugs in a motor vehicle, and being a fugitive from justice.

They were each held on $10,000 cash bail.

All three suspects are likely to face additional charges filed by Tewksbury and/or Billerica Police.

According to The Sun report, the badge of the Tewksbury Police officer has not yet been recovered, although many of her other belongings were located.

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