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Man Facing a Slew of Charges After Wild Chase

January 23, 2019

LEOMINSTER -- A homeless man was arrested on a combination of 16 felonies, misdemeanors and traffic violations after allegedly stealing a car, shoplifting tools from a home improvement store and while fleeing, ramming a police cruiser and crashing into a building, according to police.

On Friday at about 9:40 a.m., Home Depot at 135 Commercial Road, reported to police that more than $1,500 worth of tools had been shoplifted and that one of its security team members had gotten the license tag of the SUV that it was believed was used in the theft, police said.

When the license tag was run through the state database it found the 2013 Acura had been reported stolen earlier that morning in Fitchburg, according to the investigative report on the incident.

Responding officers spotted the SUV, allegedly driven by Damon D. Gentile, 40, traveling east in the westbound lane of Mechanic Street and attempted to stop him.

Gentile then allegedly rammed into police cruiser being driven by an officer, said police, and continued to flee on Vinton Street eventually crashing into a building and a parked car.

When officers approached the SUV, Gentile drove off and made two deliberate attempts to strike officers responding on foot, said police.

Driving off at a high rate of speed, Gentile allegedly crossed Mechanic Street failing to slow or yield at the intersection, said police.

At that point, said police Lt. Michael Ciccolini, the officers pursing in their cruisers were told to discontinue the chase because of concerns over the public’s safety.

Minutes later, a witness on Laurel Street saw a number of officers and flagged one down, telling the officer that the Acura SUV had stopped at a residence on the street.

Officers then located Gentile and placed him into custody without incident, said Ciccolini.

When the stolen SUV was searched, over $1,500 worth of tools were found in its front seat and a baseball hat that the owner of the SUV said was not hers, police said.

As a result of the incident, Gentile was charged with one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (for ramming into the police cruiser), failing to stop for police, vandalizing property and leaving the scene of property damage (for hitting the building and parked vehicle and then driving away), larceny over $1,200 by single scheme, receiving stolen property more than $1,200, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (for attempting to strike the two officers responding after he crashed into building); two counts of exceeding the posted speed limit, two counts of failure to stop or yield, a marked-lanes violation, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license.

The damaged SUV was returned to its owner and the recovered tools were returned to Home Depot.

At his arraignment on Friday, Gentile was ordered held in lieu of posting a $100,000 surety bond or $10,000 cash and to stay away from the person he allegedly stole the car from and Home Depot.

In September 2017, Gentile was charged with several crimes after shoplifting tools from Home Depot and while being chased by police crashed into another car and narrowly missed hitting into a police cruiser that was responding to the report of the theft at the store.

According to court documents, he was sentenced to 10 months in the Worcester County House of Correction on those charges.

Gentile was also charged in Fitchburg in August 2016 with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury after getting into a fight with a man who alleged Gentile sold him fake heroin.

Gentile allegedly stabbed his victim in the back with a knife breaking the blade off in the victim’s body. The blade had to be surgically removed.

The disposition of that case was not immediately available on Tuesday.

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