Wild chase, arrests follow shoplifting
RINDGE — Police arrested two Massachusetts suspects following a car pursuit Wednesday that began in the Hannaford parking lot on Route 202 where Police Chief Frank Morrill said he observed the store manager chasing after a woman carrying what appeared to be a bag full of stolen groceries.
Vanessa Cochran, 21, of Winchendon, Mass., was arrested and charged with willful concealment and disobeying an officer. She was held in lieu of $2,000 cash bail and transported to the Cheshire County House of Corrections. Police also arrested Cochran on an electronic bench warrant out of the 8th Circuit Court, Jaffrey, for failure to appear on a prior shoplifting charge for allegedly stealing from Walmart on Route 202 in Rindge.
Denny Chicoine, 25, of Winchendon, Mass., was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit willful concealment, driving after suspension and possession of a controlled drug, believed to be heroin. He was held in lieu of $2,000 cash bail and transported to the Cheshire County House of Corrections. Police also arrested Chicoine on an electronic bench warrant out of the 8th Circuit Court, Jaffrey, for failure to appear in connection with an alleged shoplifting at Walmart on Route 202 in Rindge, and on a slew of other warrants issued by Rindge police, charging him with shoplifting at Walmart, false report to law enforcement, resisting arrest and possession of a controlled drug, believed to be heroin.
As a part of their investigation, Morrill said by phone Monday that police located several computer screens and computer hardware in the trunk of the suspect vehicle. It is unclear at this time if the items may have been stolen, but Morrill said police will be looking into the matter more closely.
Following two separate arraignments at the 8th Circuit Court on Thursday, a judge upheld Cochran’s bail at $2,000 cash, but upped the amount required for Chicoine’s release from $2,000 cash to $5,000 cash.
Morrill said he happened to be in the right place at the right time, which allowed police to catch Cochran and Chicoine on Wednesday. He said he observed Hannaford’s store manager running across the parking lot, chasing a woman who had just come from inside the store at approximately 2:22 p.m.
In a press release issued Monday, Morrill wrote, “[Cochran] was carrying a shoulder bag and ran across the parking lot, over the guardrails, through brush in a culvert and up an embankment toward Route 202 where a vehicle was waiting in the breakdown lane. The female got into the passenger side of the car, and the car sped off at a high rate of speed.”
Morrill wrote that he was in a position to pull his cruiser out directly behind the vehicle, which was headed towards Massachusetts. But the vehicle, he said, refused to pull over and after getting stuck behind a long line of southbound cars on Route 202 made a sudden right onto Rand Road. Morrill said he radioed dispatch to let them know that he was in pursuit of an alleged shoplifter.
“As the vehicle entered the dirt portion [of Rand Road], kicking up dust, I was able to get a little closer to the vehicle,” Morrill wrote in Monday’s press release. “I observed several items being tossed out the passenger side window into the wooded tree line along the way, which were later found to be stolen meat (steaks) from Hannaford.”
Approximately $200 worth of steaks were believed to have been taken from Hannaford on Wednesday, with approximately $79 worth of steaks recovered from the sides of the roadway, according to Morrill.
Police pursuit of the suspect vehicle ended at the intersection of Old Military Road and Dara Drive, where the vehicle reached a dead end neighborhood after an attempt to evade police for approximately four miles, Morrill said.
In addition to Morrill, Det. Jeff Seppala and Officer Christopher Martin responded to the scene to arrest the two suspects. Winchendon police were notified of the pursuit, but never became directly involved, Morrill said.
“Det. Seppala and I both confronted the occupants of the vehicle in a high-risk, felony, take down approach, ordering the occupants at gun point, one by one, to evacuate the vehicle, lie down on the ground and be handcuffed,” Morrill wrote.
By phone Monday, Morrill said when a motorist attempts to evade police he or she is doing so for a significant reason, and that officers’ safety is always of upmost concern when confronting such suspects.
Despite both suspects previous theft charges out of Rindge, in connection with alleged thefts at Walmart on Route 202, Morrill said police did not receive any reports of theft from that store’s ownership Wednesday.
Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.