A Deer Park man who escaped Suffolk police custody Friday by stealing an officer’s unmarked police car surrendered 14 hours later after an “extensive” search and talks with his family, authorities said.
Travis Lovett, 23, had taken a short ride in the police car after being arrested on marijuana charges by First Precinct officers in the gang unit during a traffic stop in Deer Park about 12:35 a.m., police said. He ditched the car by a church on Sammis Avenue, not far from where he was first arrested, police said.
He faces arraignment Saturday on second-degree possession of a weapon because a loaded handgun was found in his car, third-degree grand larceny, second-degree escape, fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, police said.
Officers had placed him in the back seat of an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria, but while they were out of the vehicle, Lovett gained control of the car and took off, police said.
After abandoning the car, Lovett ran off, said police, who mounted a ground and air search.
“Someone was under arrest and drove off with the police car for a block,” Lt. William O’Sullivan, of the First Precinct, said Friday morning on Washington Avenue, which police had blocked off.
A call was heard over the radio — “car was taken, start responding” — and officers from the First and nearby Third Precinct descended on the area.
Other details were not immediately available, including how Travis commandeered the vehicle and how many officers were present at the time.
“Let this be a message to criminals: When you are placed under arrest, it will not pay to resist or attempt to escape,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy D. Sini in a statement. “Any such actions will only make matters worse for you.”