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BENNINGTON — A trio from North Adams, Mass., allegedly tried to make off with $2,000 in goods from the Bennington Home Depot, but were interrupted by an off duty police officer, who ended up on an unwanted joyride. 

On Friday, the off duty officer — unnamed by police — was at the Home Depot at 121 North Bennington Road, when he noticed Jonathan R. Sprowson, 26, of North Adams, being tailed by store staff and a customer after trying to leave without paying. The worker and customer told Sprowson to stop, but he kept moving away from the store, police said in a statement.

The off-duty officer followed Sprowson out of the store to an awaiting car in the parking lot. The officer then identified himself, ordering Sprowson to stop.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Luczynski, 39, of North Adams, was in the driver's seat of the awaiting car, with Hailey M. Smith, 30, of North Adams, in the back seat.

Sprowson pulled away from the officer, jumped into the car and told Luczynski to drive away.

To avoid being hit or run over, the off-duty officer jumped into a passenger-side door, which Sprowson had left open. The officer ordered Luczynski to stop the vehicle multiple times, but she did not comply.

Instead, she drove the length of the Home Depot lot with the officer clinging to the car, before finally coming to a stop, police said.

The customer, who earlier gave chase, came to the officer's assistance.

Sprowson and Smith jumped out of the vehicle, running across North Bennington Road to the Chili’s parking lot. The officer chased the two and took Sprowson into custody. Sprowson was then handed over to arriving on-duty Bennington Police officers.

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Smith was taken into custody later in the day, police said.

Luczynski drove away but was followed by a motorist who called the Bennington Police, relaying to them what she had just witnessed.

Bennington Police soon after conducted a traffic stop of Luczynski and took her into custody without incident. Officers recovered $1,892 worth of stolen Home Depot power tools in her car.

The off-duty officer suffered minor injuries to his lower legs as a result of this incident.

At his arraignment Monday, Sprowson faces charges of felony retail theft, aggravated assault on a police officer, impeding and eluding.

Smith faces identical charges as Sprowson. And Luczynski was charged with the same as her cohorts, but also felony possession of stolen property and gross negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

All three of the Massachusetts residents were issued $10,000 bail each, with conditions of release to appear in Vermont Superior Court, Bennington Criminal Division, on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

They were lodged at Marble Valley Correctional Facility until their arraignments.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Briggs at the Bennington Police Department or through its website, benningtonpolice.com.


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