Would-Be Truck Thief Thwarted by Driver Arrested in East Haven

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An attempted theft of a woman’s idling pickup truck in March in East Haven did not go well, starting with the woman wrestling the truck door back open and ending with the suspect fleeing the still-moving truck and later being apprehended by police.

On March 31, East Haven officers were dispatched to Xpress Fuel 22 Frontage Road after a female complainant called 911 to report that a white male suspect approximately 5’4” wearing a red and gray sweatshirt had just attempted to steal her idling pickup truck while she was making a purchase at the window, according to an East Haven Police Department press release.

The truck owner told police that she had originally seen the suspect standing by the side of the building when she pulled in. When she walked to the store window to make a purchase, the suspect, who she got into her unlocked pickup truck and tried to drive away.

After unsuccessfully ordering the interloper from her vehicle, the woman, according to the release, the woman hung onto the truck while the suspect drove forward and backward in an apparent attempt to share her off. The woman reported that, once she was able to reach into the truck to open the door, the suspect jumped out of the vehicle while it was still in gear and in motion and fled eastbound on Frontage Road.

The vehicle proceeded through the parking lot and struck a guardrail before the complainant was able to gain control of it again.

Through the investigation, police identified Nicholas Gambardella, 24, of unknown address as a suspect. Gambardella was taken into custody at the Quality Inn, 30 East Frontage Road without incident on April 28. He was transported to the East Haven Police Department and was processed. Gambardella was charged with first degree criminal attempt at larceny, first degree reckless endangerment, third degree criminal attempt at robbery, third degree assault, and third degree criminal mischief.

Gambardella was held on a $75,000 bond and faced a judge on April 29 at G.A. 23, 121 Elm Street, New Haven.


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