FRANKLIN — What started as a car break-in investigation early Thursday evolved into a police chase, a crash and two arrests, authorities said.
At least one other suspect got away.
In all, police said at least 33 vehicles were broken into Wednesday night and early Thursday.
At 1:11 a.m., a woman called police and said she saw someone trying to break into her car while it was in her driveway at 418 Partridge St. She said she yelled at them, and the person ran into a waiting car, which drove off with several other people inside, according to police.
Officers began to search the area and found two cars, with one on Elm Street matching the description of that which was seen on Partridge Street. An Elm Street resident then told police that someone had just tried to break into both his house and car, police said in a release.
The officer then moved to pull over the two suspect cars, but lost sight of them on Lincoln Street.
“As the officers approached Winterberry Drive, they observed one of the vehicles had crashed into the wooded area at the corner of Winterberry Drive and Lincoln Street,” police wrote. “The vehicle was unoccupied when the officers arrived.”
Police later discovered the car had been stolen earlier from a home on Partridge Street.
Many communities affected: Police say car break-ins are occurring ‘all over the state’
Officers then spotted the second vehicle on Winterberry Drive. According to the release, that vehicle attempted to strike two police cruisers as part of an escape attempt. Police chased the car into Wrentham before calling off the pursuit. The vehicle has not been located since, police said in the release.
Using a search dog, police then searched near the crashed vehicle and found a man, a woman and a teen whom they believe were traveling in the car. Police said they found stolen property and a loaded handgun magazine in the stolen vehicle, but no gun. Franklin police and the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council searched the area to see if a gun had been dumped during the chase. No gun was found
Police arrested Jonathan Rodriguez, 24, of New Britain, Connecticut, and charged him with larceny of a vehicle; possession of ammunition without an FID card; larceny of a credit card; and receiving stolen property.
Police also arrested Rachel Hernandez, 21, also of New Britain, and charged her with driving without a license.
The teen was released to the custody of his parents.
Rodriguez was held on $10,000 bail later Thursday at his arraignment in Wrentham District Court. He is due back in court on Dec. 12.
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Hernandez had her case dismissed upon payment of $100 in court costs.
Police said there have criminal groups who travel from community to community to steal items from unlocked vehicles and steal cars. In 2020, large groups from Connecticut were known to have been targeting several Massachusetts communities, and police departments from MetroWest and Greater Milford set up a task force to solve the car breaks.
Franklin Deputy Police Chief James West said he could not confirm whether the people arrested Thursday were part of such a group.
“We can’t be sure at this time,” he said.
Police are asking residents to check their homes and vehicles for signs of breaking and entry, as well as to check their home camera systems for any suspicious activity that occurred during the night Wednesday into Thursday.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police tip line at 508-440-2780.
Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or [email protected] For up-to-date public safety news, follow him on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.
This article originally appeared on MetroWest Daily News: Franklin police arrest two after reports of at least 33 car break-ins