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Man Steals Truck of Thanksgiving Turkeys and Takes Police on Chase

November 24, 1987

COLONIE, N.Y. (AP) _ Charity volunteers weren’t feeling very charitable about a man who allegedly swiped a truck carrying 65 Thanksgiving turkeys and led dozens of police officers on a high-speed pursuit.

″We were all quite amazed; we couldn’t believe it,″ said Randy Cannell, a member of the International Union of Electrical Workers, which was to deliver the birds to needy families today. ″We’re doing something like this for charity and then something like this happens.″

Donald Jansen, who is about 30, eluded six state and local police agencies, a state police helicopter, and a dog unit before he was wounded and seized on foot Monday, according to state police spokeswoman Rene Paluba.

″Yeah, he had a real good time,″ she said.

Jansen was released late Monday from Albany Medical Center with minor gunshot wounds to the finger, chest and head, according to hospital spokeswoman Caren Malone.

State police said no charges were immediately filed. The suspect was being held in Schenectady city jail awaiting arraignment today in city police court.

State police said they didn’t know how Jansen was hurt, but police chasing him through the woods were seen firing their weapons.

Ms. Paluba said she believed Jansen was unarmed.

Two of the dozens of officers involved in the chase suffered minor injuries. One officer was hurt when the suspect drove the stolen truck at his police car, slamming it into a state police vehicle.

″He just tried to drive right over one of our police cars,″ said Schenectady police Sgt. Wayne Eidelbus.

The injured officer, Daniel Johnson, was released after treatment of his neck and back at Ellis Hospital, Schenectady.

Another officer was slightly bruised in the arm as he stood on the street trying to flag down the suspect. ″He tried to run down that officer,″ said Eidelbus.

He said the officer fired two shots, but he didn’t know if they hit the suspect.

Several police vehicles were damaged in the chase, but Paluba said she didn’t know exactly how many.

Police could not give a motive for the theft.

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