Alert resident tracks down own stolen pick-up truck

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – A father and son who were on their way to a youth basketball game on a Saturday morning found something they were not expecting to see on their way to theMarshallW. Errickson School.

According toMaria Rondinella, her husband, Anthony, and son, Louis, 10, started out for the Jan. 19 game shortly after 9 a.m. They headed down Bar Harbor Road toward Elton-Adelphia Road. It was at about that time when Anthony and Louis noticed a black Ford F150 pick-up truck preparing to make a left turn onto Elton-Adelphia Road from the Adelphia Plaza parking lot.

According to Maria, on any other day this would not have been anything newsworthy to either her husband or their son, but since the Rondinellas’ pick-up- which was identical in color, make and model to the one in front of them – had been stolen from a local auto body shop on Jan. 6, it caught their attention.

Rondinella drove closer to the pick-up truck and upon inspecting the license plate realized it was his truck. He followed the truck as the driver turned onto Route 9 north. Maria said her husband called 911 and told the dispatcher he was following his own stolen vehicle.After some explanation, the dispatcher contacted local authorities.

Rondinella observed the driver pull into a gas station on Route 9 north but maintained a safe distance. All the while, Maria said, her son was concerned about getting to his basketball game on time.

With an open line to 911, Rondinella told the authorities that the suspects left the gas station, turned onto Route 79 (South Street) and made a left into the parking lot of the South Freehold shopping center.

In a matter of moments four police cars arrived at the scene and surrounded the suspects while they were still in the pick-up truck. Maria said her husband told the responding officers what had just occurred and then asked if he could take Louis to his basketball game, which the youngstermanaged to get to without missing any playing time.

Rondinella eventually returned to the shopping center,where the police had taken two suspects into custody, and together they returned the vehicle to the nearby auto body shop from where it had been stolen two weeks earlier.

On Jan. 25, Freehold Township police Capt. James Lasky confirmed Maria Rondinella’s account of what had occurred on the morning of Jan. 19.

Lasky said Eric Glantz, 20, of Manalapan, and Jordan Levy, 21 of Freehold Township, were each charged withmotor vehicle theft. Glantz and Levy were processed and released pending court action. Police Officer Joseph Winowksi was the arresting officer.

Maria said her husband acted on instinct and remained calm during the pursuit of his stolen truck. She said Louis later told her that the highlight of his daywas his basketball team’s first victory of the season, followed closely by the pursuit of his family’s stolen vehicle.

Maria said her son had at least two things to write about in his class journal.

This account was written by Maria Rondinella, with additional reporting by News Transcript staff writer Amy Rosen.