- Last Updated: 1:21 AM, June 5, 2012
- Posted: 1:10 AM, June 5, 2012
This hapless crook died with his loot right in his lap.
A thief holding a tire stolen from a Westchester car dealer was killed and his getaway driver critically injured yesterday when their speeding car plowed into three others in The Bronx during a police chase, cops said.
“One wheel was found on the victim’s lap, two in the back seat and two in the trunk. We believe they were taken from the Honda dealership,” said New Rochelle police Capt. Joseph Schaller.
The 5:20 a.m. crash woke up residents on Palmer and Givan avenues in The Bronx, about five miles from the Honda of New Rochelle dealership.
“The way he hit those cars, he must’ve been flying,” said witness Angel Mogollon, 40, of the car’s driver, identified by cops as Starling Santana, 20, of The Bronx.
The front end of the crooks’ Nissan Maxima was demolished in the violent collision, and a GMC SUV, a Porsche and a Mercedes — which were parked and unoccupied on the street — were smashed, too. Cops said the five swiped tires found inside the Nissan were mounted on their rims and worth up to $500 each.
“Can you imagine, losing your life for a few wheels?” said bystander Doreen Thompson of the dead thief, Francisco Santana Pena, 24, of The Bronx.
A New Rochelle cop on patrol had first spotted the two men about 5 a.m. near the dealership, where thousands of dollars worth of wheels and catalytic converters had been taken in recent thefts.
“The suspect vehicle was coming off a quiet side street which leads into a parking lot that the dealership uses,” Schaller said.
The officer tried to pull the car over, but the suspects sped off onto southbound Interstate 95 heading toward The Bronx, as other New Rochelle cops joined the chase.
The crooks got off the highway on Connor Street in Eastchester and drove on Palmer Avenue before crashing on Givan when the speeding driver couldn’t negotiate the turn.
Santana, who suffered a broken right thigh bone in the crash, was expected to be charged with grand larceny in New Rochelle and other charges in The Bronx.