New Haven man hits police car fleeing Trumbull shoplifting incident

TRUMBUL – A New Haven man has been charged with hitting a police cruiser while fleeing a shoplifting incident at a local Home Depot last month, police said.

Trumbull Police said 48-year-old Juan Cartagena of Springside Avenue stole more than $600 worth of merchandise from Trumbull Home Depot on July 20. Trumbull police said Cartagena stole merchandise from Bridgeport Home Depot earlier that day.

At around 8:30 a.m. on July 20, police retaliated to a Trumbull store, which had shoplifting going on. Police said an eyewitness said Cartagena had left the store after pushing a shopping cart with stolen goods.

Police said as officers arrived, Cartagena fled in their vehicle on the Monroe turnpike. Police said Cartagena turned south in oncoming traffic in a northbound lane. Police said he hit the front end of one of the police cruisers and continued to accelerate south on Route 25, allowing him to escape.

According to the press release, the police cruiser suffered heavy damage, but the officer’s actions prevented the Cartagena vehicle from colliding with another vehicle. Police said the officer was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital for injuries and was released later that day.

Before going to Trumbull Home Depot, a witness saw Cartagena pushing a shopping cart with stolen merchandise outside a Bridgeport Home Depot store, police said. Police said Cartagena pushed an employee who was trying to stop him and then fled after loading the stolen goods into his vehicle.

According to the release, the same witness saw Cartagena and its vehicle at the Trumbull store and informed the police. Police learned that Cartagena was responsible for several previous burglaries from various Home Depot locations in Connecticut and was known to be violent at times while committing the crime, police said.

Police said officers also learned that Cartagena is on parole and had already failed to report for his mandatory parole appointment last week. Police said Cartagena has an extensive arrest history for charges such as murder, theft, robbery and escaping from custody.

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