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Pa. man steals Salem police cruiser during two-state pursuit

Union Leader Correspondent

June 21. 2014 11:15AM


SALEM -- A Pennsylvania man allegedly led police on a pursuit through Massachusetts where he charged at a Salem police officer and stole his marked cruiser before being arrested on a rail trail near South Broadway, police said.

The pursuit began around 12:40 a.m. Saturday when Salem Officer Adam Pearson stopped a car on Main Street near Centerville Drive. Pearson was attempting to arrest the driver, Robert Zygarowski, 52, of Ellwood City, Pa., according to police. He was one of three people in the car.

Zygarowski allegedly struggled with Pearson, who deployed his Taser to regain control of the situation, police said.

Zygarowski ripped off the Taser prongs he was struck with and knocked the Taser from Pearson's hands, police said. He allegedly jumped back into his car and fled.

Pearson followed the vehicle along Main Street into Haverhill, Mass., while more Salem police officers joined the pursuit, according to police.

Zygarowski turned onto Interstate 495 south and drove into Lawrence, Mass., taking the exit for Route 114 West with Pearson still behind him, police said.

The left rear tire blew out on Zygarowski's car while driving through downtown Lawrence, police said.

Zygarowski exited his car on Essex Street, police said. Pearson -- without backup -- ordered Zygarowski to stop.

The other three occupants of the car exited the vehicle, but Zygarowski charged at Pearson, gained control of his police cruiser and drove off, according to police.

Pearson detained the other two passengers as police officers from Lawrence, Mass., Salem and the Massachusetts State Police arrived at the scene. Officers found the cruiser a few blocks away on Merrimack View Court in Lawrence.

Police said the cruiser was not damaged and nothing was missing from it.

A widespread search by area police was underway when a gas station worker about three and a half miles away called police about a man inside Ted's Mobil on Route 28 in Methuen, Mass.

The man, who matched Zygarowski's description, allegedly told the clerk that he had weapons and was going to shoot at the police.

Officers from Methuen, Salem, the Essex County Sheriff's Office along with Massachusetts State Police and New Hampshire State Police converged on the area.
As the officers arrived, they received a report that Zygarowski was seen walking through the kitchen of a nearby IHOP just over the state line back in Salem. The officers and troopers set up a perimeter and searched the area with K-9s.

Salem police Officer Steve MacPherson spotted a man, matching Zygarowski's description, walking along the rail trail in the area of 265 South Broadway, police said.
Officers approached the man and ordered him to the ground, but he refused.

Officers struggled with the man before taking him into custody and identifying him as Zygarowski, police said.

Police said Zygarowski is facing two counts of simple assault, two counts of resisting arrest, along with charges of reckless operation, disobeying a police officer and criminal restraint.

He is being held at the Rockingham County jail in Brentwood pending his arraignment Monday in 10th Circuit Court, Salem Division.

Zygarowski is also expected to face theft charges in Massachusetts for stealing the Salem police cruiser.

Additional charges are expected and the investigation is ongoing, police said. The two passengers cooperated with the investigation and were not charged. One passenger stated that he repeatedly asked to be let out of the car, police said.

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