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02/04/2010

By Kara Herlihy

The tale of the teenage car thief who eluded state police and led a citizen on a high-speed chase through East Warren Monday night had people shaking their heads throughout The Valley this week; the 18-year-old who admitted to a county-wide crime spree may be going to jail (although he is out on bail) and Warren resident Francis Faillace pretty much chased him there.

There were two high-speed car chases on February 1; both originated at the four-cornered intersection of Roxbury Mountain Road and East Warren Road. There were a total of four cars stolen, all by one Jeremiah Sadler of Warren, during a chase that covered three, almost four towns.

East Warren resident Francis Faillace is the guy brave enough to chase down a serial thief who made a night out of stealing cars while he was out stealing cars.

During the wee hours of February 1, Faillace heard a car door slam outside his parents' home on Roxbury Mountain Road; he went outside -- sneakily -- wearing only boots and boxer shorts.

He was just in time to see an unfamiliar car drive away with its headlights off. Realizing he had just been robbed, Faillace pursued the suspect in his car, to the top of Roxbury Mountain Road, where he eventually lost sight of Sadler.

On his way back down the hill, Faillace said he saw an unfamiliar car at the end of Shady Tree Lane; he pulled in front of the vehicle and turned his high beams on Sadler's face. Sadler sped away.

THE CHASE

Faillace chased Sadler in two different cars through three towns, two times, only crashing once. He communicated with the state police and his parents via cell phone, alerting authorities to his location as he chased the burglar.

He first pursued Sadler down the East Warren Road and then headed south on Route 100 where Faillace drove into a ditch -- serendipitously adjacent to Hap's Service Station. After Hap's successfully pulled Faillace's car from the ditch, he drove home.

A fleet of Vermont State Troopers then picked up the chase, which, by Faillace's account, led them up the Sugarbush Access Road, where the suspect crashed his stolen car and escaped on foot. Police reportedly followed with dogs.

By this time Faillace was back at home in East Warren, marking the short intermission between the two car chases.

YET ANOTHER CHASE

Faillace wasn't home long before he got a phone call from his mother, Linda, who said a car traveling east on Airport Road caught her attention. He recognized the suspect because of the way he was driving, as Sadler was in yet another stolen car.

Faillace once again pursued the suspect (who he assumed was trying to get to Barre by way of Roxbury Gap) in his car. He once again contacted state troopers and told them that he was chasing the same suspect, in a different car, for the second time -- this time towards Moretown.

Sadler led Faillace on another high-speed chase through Waitsfield to Moretown Mountain Road, where Faillace said he feared losing cell phone service before the police caught up.

State police officers passed Faillace on Moretown Mountain Road and pursued Sadler into an open field where he eventually abandoned his running car and took off into the woods.

Officers followed Sadler with flashlights and dogs; Faillace stayed behind.

While police searched for Sadler, Faillace found a loaded shotgun on the front seat of the suspect's car; he removed the keys from the ignition and removed the ammunition from the gun, for fear that Sadler would return to the car.

ELUDES POLICE AGAIN

More police officers arrived at the scene where Faillace was able to positively identify Sadler from a mug shot. The suspect eluded police a final time stole another vehicle and headed to Barre.

Police were able to track Sadler with a canine after they found a stolen car near a residence in Barre City.

Sadler is a suspect in approximately 20 thefts and 100 larcenies from unlocked vehicles throughout Washington County. There are also several other pending cases and charges involving Sadler currently.

Police thanked Faillace for his persistence pursuing and identifying Sadler. Sadler was arraigned and released on $1,000 bail.

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