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High-speed chase of stolen fire vehicle ends with crash in Eastport

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Two men were arrested Sunday after leading police on a wild and lengthy high-speed chase in a fire department vehicle they allegedly stole earlier in the morning, according to a Jan. 26 report in Newsday.

Police were on the hunt for the stolen fire chief’s vehicle since shortly after 1 a.m., when the red Chevrolet Tahoe from the East Moriches Fire Department was stolen from a firehouse in Center Moriches.

Authorities said the vehicle had been left idling in the parking lot when surveillance cameras captured two men hopping into the sport utility vehicle and fleeing east along Montauk Highway.

A Suffolk County police officer spotted the marked fire vehicle heading east along Route 25A in Rocky Point and tried to pull it over around 7:30 a.m. The thieves refused to stop and led police on a nearly 30-mile high-speed chase from Rocky Point to Hampton Bays before heading west again on Montauk Highway.

Eventually, the vehicle crashed after sliding off the road on Montauk Highway near North Bay Avenue in Eastport. The suspects were uninjured in the smashup and immediately placed under arrest.

The lengthy pursuit involved officers from the Suffolk County, Quogue Village, Southampton Town and Westhampton Village police departments. A Suffolk County police helicopter was also tracking the suspects.

Photos from the crash scene show one of the suspects – who was not identified – being led off in handcuffs with his blue pajama pants falling from his waist.

Update [Jan. 27, 2014]: Suffolk County police have charged Raymond Peruggi, 23, and Corey Smith, 23, both of Center Moriches, with third-degree grand larceny in connection with the incident. Both men are expected to be arraigned Monday at First District Court in Central Islip.

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