Johnston man witnesses truck theft, chases down suspect

By RORY SCHULER
Posted 6/18/21

A Johnston man witnessed someone steal his truck from his driveway, hopped into his wife’s car and followed the man until police arrived.

On June 12, at around 6:47 a.m., several Johnston …

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Johnston man witnesses truck theft, chases down suspect

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A Johnston man witnessed someone steal his truck from his driveway, hopped into his wife’s car and followed the man until police arrived.

On June 12, at around 6:47 a.m., several Johnston police officers responded to a report of a larceny of a motor vehicle in the vicinity of School Street.

Upon arrival, dispatch advised that the reporting party observed the suspect who allegedly stole the vehicle, and was following him.

The victim described the suspect as a man wearing black pants, a white T-shirt and a black jacket. The caller told dispatch that he was following behind the stolen vehicle traveling east in the area of 1077 Plainfield St.

The victim told police he was calling to give them a “play by play” of his pursuit, according to a report written by Johnston Police Officer Adam M. Parkinson.

The victim told police that around 6:25 a.m. he was in the bathroom of his home when he head his work truck start up in the driveway.

At first, the victim told police he didn’t think much of the truck starting, since it was about the normal time his employee arrives to start the truck.

When he looked outside, he noticed the vehicle was missing from the driveway. The man checked his home surveillance camera and saw a man, wearing all black and wearing a backpack, steal the truck. He then called police.

While on the phone with police, the man witnessed the truck being driven in his neighborhood down Heritage Circle, according to the police report.

He got into his wife’s vehicle and began to follow the truck, and caught up to the vehicle as it parked in front of 48 Pocasset St.

The man drove up to the side of his truck and confronted the man inside.

He told police he was trying to “cut the suspect off,” according to the report.

The victim told police the suspect seemed preoccupied with something in his lap. When the victim yelled “Oh!” at the alleged thief, he startled him, and he attempted to take off, flooring the gas pedal.

When the suspect, identified by police as Dylan A. Pellegrino, of 39 Drowne St., Cranston, attempted to drive away, he struck a telephone pole in front of him, disabling the truck.

It appeared the escape attempt broke the passenger-side front axle, according to the report.

Police said Pellegrino exited the vehicle and sprinted away, dropping an umbrella outside 44 Pocasset St.

The victim continued following Pellegrino from inside his wife’s car, while updating police of his whereabouts.

As Pellegrino reached Plainfield Street, he started walking eastbound at a casual pace, police said.

When the first officers arrived on scene, Pellegrino removed his jacket and tossed it to the side of the road.

Soon after, Parkinson took him into custody, and seized the jacket and umbrella as evidence.

The victim also handed police a Versace sunglasses case containing a pair of Raybans he said the suspect tossed upon the arrival of police.

The victim reviewed his home surveillance footage with police, according to the report.

The video shows a man wearing black shoes with a white strip on the bottom, black pants, black jacket and a black backpack, walk up the driveway.

The footage also shows the man standing next to the vehicle with the driver’s side door open, and the vehicle leaving the driveway a minute later, according to the police report.

The images, however, did not show a clear image of the driver of the stolen truck.

The clothing description given by the victim, and shown on the camera surveillance, however, matched the clothing worn by Pellegrino when he was taken into custody.

Police said the truck’s ignition keys were inside the vehicle at the time of the theft, so there was no damage to the steering column.

The victim told police he would like to pursue a criminal complaint.

Due to the positive identification made by the victim, paired with the matching clothing description from his statement and the footage, sufficient probable cause was established and Pellegrino was arrested for the vehicle theft.

Pellegrino was charged with Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle (second offense), a felony, police said.

He was arraigned on the charge and given a District Court re-arraignment date of June 14, and another court date of Sept. 13.

Pellegrino was a bail and a probation violator and was remanded to the Adult Correctional Institutions, police wrote in their report.

National Grid was contacted to assess the damage to the utility pole. Pellegrino was also issued a summons for Duty in Accident Resulting in Damage to Highway Fixtures and Leaving Lane of Travel.

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