A Branford police officer interrupted four men and a juvenile from New Haven accused of stealing cars and auto accessories in a dimly lit parking lot on North Main Street just after 1 a.m. on Thursday.
As the officer stopped his patrol car to investigate, the thieves jumped into two stolen cars and fled, police said. One vehicle backed into the patrol car.
The officer brought in reinforcements and the stolen vehicles fled, lost control as they tried to enter Interstate 95 eastbound and crashed into the woods near the highway, police said.
Officers said they immediately apprehend Emilio Davila, 18; Jose Natal, 19; Gerald Dejesus-Ortiz; and a 15 year old juvenile.
Police said Jose Sanchez, 18, ran off, but an officer and a K-9 apprehended him.
Police said they recovered two stolen cars at the crash site, one stolen car on North Main Street and several auto accessories and personal items stolen from vehicles throughout the Short Beach, Branford Hills and Harbor Street area of town.
All four men, including the juvenile, were charged with three counts of larceny third, three counts of conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree, five counts of burglary in the third degree, five counts of conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree, larceny in the sixth degree and interfering with an officer.
Sanchez and Davila were also charged with reckless driving, evading responsibility, engaging officer in pursuit and operating without license for their roles as the operators of the fleeing vehicles.
All except the juvenile were held on $50,000 bond and were arraigned in New Haven court this morning.
The juvenile was released on a written promise to appear to a parent or guardian.
Anyone who is missing articles from a vehicles is encouraged to contact the Branford Police at 203-481-4241.