Atlantic City, NJ – A Camden County man was arrested for stealing a police van and crashing it into two other police vehicles on Friday just a few minutes after he was released from custody after having been arrested for trying to break into another police vehicle.
Atlantic City Police Sergeant Paul Aristizabal said the incident began at about 7:20 p.m. on Jan. 14 when a concerned citizen alerted officers to a suspect who was trying to steal a marked patrol vehicle, Breaking AC reported.
The police report said that Atlantic City Police Officers William Akins and Jarae Langford were at the Public Safety Building and saw 40-year-old Jason Urbaniak trying to open the locked driver’s door of a police vehicle.
The officers confronted Urbaniak and he admitted he was trying to steal the patrol vehicle, according to the report.
Sgt. Aristizabal said Urbaniak was arrested without incident, Breaking AC reported.
He was charged with attempted burglary and released on a summons at about 10:50 p.m. the same night.
But instead of going home, Sgt. Aristizabal said Urbaniak went outside the police station and stole a police department prisoner transport van, Breaking AC reported.
The sergeant said that the van thief was able to manipulate the ignition to start the vehicle and fled the area.
The theft was immediately noticed and reported to police, and communications broadcasted the information about the stolen police vehicle over the radio, Breaking AC reported.
Atlantic City Police Officer Tyler Daily spotted the stolen police van a few minutes later in the 200-block of North Iowa Avenue.
Sgt. Aristizabal said more officers responded to the scene and pulled up to block in the stolen van.
He said that was when Urbaniak put the van into reverse and hit the gas, slamming the stolen van into two marked police vehicles, Breaking AC reported.
The sergeant said that Atlantic City Police Officer Consuelo Maldonado suffered a minor injury in the crash and was transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s City Campus for treatment.
The officer has since been released, Breaking AC reported.
Surveillance cameras on nearby buildings captured video of officers running from their vehicles as the van careened toward them.
At least one officer pulled her firearm during the incident, according to Breaking AC.
Urbaniak was arrested without incident after the wreck and booked into jail.
He has been charged with two counts each of aggravated assault on police, attempted aggravated assault on police, and assault by auto, as well as theft of a motor vehicle, eluding, and criminal attempt burglary, Breaking AC reported.