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Police: Theft suspects flee with emergency brake on

Two Southampton women who admitted to stealing were caught after forgetting to take the emergency brake off after leaving a store in Riverhead, police said Friday.

A State Police trooper in Riverhead saw a car with smoking tires Wednesday matching the description of the one in the theft, stopped it and thought the driver appeared nervous, State Police said.

Eventually, the woman admitted she and her passenger "stole stuff," police said.

The driver, Rachel Gebhardt, 25, of 192 Miller Rd., Southampton, and the passenger, Shalaya Gatlin, 20, of 65 Hillcrest Terrace, Southampton, were charged with petty larceny, police said.

State Police said Riverhead Town police got a call that there was a larceny in progress at TJ Maxx on Wednesday at 4:08 p.m.

Police said the trooper monitoring the call heard the dispatcher say a woman in a black hooded sweatshirt was seen fleeing a TJ Maxx and getting into a gold Nissan Maxima. The trooper saw a gold Maxima cross Route 24 from Riverhead and enter southbound County Route 51.

As he followed the car, the trooper saw the tires smoking and two women inside. Police said the trooper stopped the car and talked to Gebhardt, who "appeared very nervous." The trooper noted she had been driving with the emergency brake on.

Eventually, police said, Gebhardt admitted to the officer she and Gatlin were "coming from Riverhead, where they 'stole stuff,' and the items were in the vehicle," the State Police said.

It was not immediately clear what the women were accused of stealing.

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