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Serial Car Thief Released Without Bail Steals Another Vehicle, Wounds Two Officers

Manhattan, NY – A alleged serial car thief who had been released without bail days earlier rammed into multiple vehicles and injured two officers while fleeing from police in another stolen car on Sunday.

Josue Viorato, 21, was initially arrested on Nov. 8 for allegedly stealing a 2020 BMW, the New York Post reported.

The owner of the stolen car activated his vehicle’s tracking device and drove to its location, where he found three suspects rifling through it.

The irate driver immediately approached the suspects, at which point Viorato allegedly jumped back into the car and sped off, police said.

Sources told the New York Post the suspect tried to run over a law enforcement officer when police located him later that day.

Viorato was arrested on charges of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, third-degree grand larceny, and various other offenses, according to the New York Post.

During his arraignment on Nov. 9, just one day after his arrest, Viorato was released without bond due to New York’s criminal justice reform law, which barred prosecutors from seeking bail.

The suspect was kicked loose and ordered to show up to court for his next hearing on Jan. 19.

According to investigators, Viorato went out and stole a 2021 Acura in the Bronx on Nov. 27, WNBC reported.

The owner was able to use a tracking app and followed his stolen car onto the RFK Bridge the following day.

Officers with the New York State Police (NYSP) and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) subsequently converged on the stolen vehicle while it was still on the bridge at approximately 1 p.m., WNBC reported.

Viorato attempted to flee by ramming a second car, which then collided with a NYSP trooper, according to the New York Post.

The injured trooper opened fire on the fleeing suspect, but investigators said no one was hit by the rounds.

Viorato managed to escape and police later located the stolen Acura in Harlem, the New York Post reported.

He was taken into custody, as was his 17-year-old passenger.

Investigators said they recovered a replica firearm at the scene of the arrests, according to WNBC.

Viorato now faces new charges of vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, fleeing, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, obstruction of governmental administration, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle the New York Post reported.

The passenger was charged with possession of an imitation firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and obstruction of governmental administration.

The trooper who was struck while Viorato was fleeing the bridge was transported to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries, WNBC reported.

The trooper’s current condition has not been released.

A TBTA officer also suffered unspecified injuries during the suspect’s escape, the New York Post reported.

Police shut down two lanes of the bridge in both directions during the shooting and crash investigations Sunday, eventually reopening the roadway at midnight, according to WNBC.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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