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Cops: Thief targets SUV warming in driveway

John Brito, 42, of Franklin Square, has been

John Brito, 42, of Franklin Square, has been arrested in connection with the theft of an SUV from a Franklin Square resident's driveway, police said. (Jan. 24, 2013) Credit: NCPD

A man warming his Honda in the driveway of his Franklin Square home Thursday looked out the window to see someone taking it, ran outside, jumped into the vehicle and, with the aid of a passerby, subdued the man trying to steal it, police said.

But not before the alleged car thief, who Nassau County police said turned out to be both intoxicated and under the influence of drugs, had driven the sport utility vehicle down the street in an attempt to flee the scene.

John Brito, 42, of 284 James St., Franklin Square, was arrested at the scene on nearby Adams Avenue and charged with second-degree robbery, driving while ability impaired, driving while intoxicated, driving while ability-impaired / combined influence and two counts each of first-degree and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Brito faces arraignment Friday morning in First District Court in Hempstead.

Police said the victim, a 63-year-old man, had started his 2010 Honda CRV in the driveway of his Adams Avenue home while he went inside to wait for it to warm when Brito entered the vehicle and tried to drive away at about 6:30 p.m.

The victim ran out, opened the driver's side door and struggled to gain control of the vehicle as Brito headed west on Adams trying to get away, police said. About 50 feet down the block, police said the vehicle came to a stop -- and a 47-year-old passerby came running to assist the victim.

The two men then held Brito until police arrived.

Police said the responding Fourth Precinct officers found a bottle of wine in the Honda that did not belong to the vehicle owner.

No one was injured, police said.

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