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Pa. man arrested after chase, theft of Salem cruiser

Sunday News Correspondent

June 21. 2014 7:50PM

SALEM - A Pennsylvania man led police on a pursuit into Massachusetts, scuffled with a Salem police officer and stole the officer's marked cruiser before being arrested on a rail trail near South Broadway, police said.

The pursuit began around 12:40 a.m. Saturday when Salem police Officer Adam Pearson stopped a car on Main Street near Centerville Drive, police said. Pearson was attempting to arrest the driver, Robert Zygarowski, 52, of Ellwood City, Pa., according to police. He was one of three people in the car, police said.

Zygarowski allegedly struggled with Pearson, who used his Taser to regain control of the situation, police said.

Zygarowski ripped off the Taser prongs and knocked the Taser out of Pearson's hands, according to police. He then jumped back into his car and fled.

Pearson followed the vehicle along Main Street into Haverhill, Mass., as more Salem officers joined the pursuit, according to police.

Zygarowski turned onto Interstate 495 South and drove into Lawrence, Mass., taking the exit for Route 114 West with Pearson still behind in pursuit, police said.

The left rear tire of Zygarowski's car blew out while he was driving through downtown Lawrence, police said.

Zygarowski eventually got out of his car on Essex Street, and Pearson - without backup - ordered Zygarowski to stop.

As the two passengers got out of the Zygarowski's vehicle, the suspect charged at Pearson, gained control of his police cruiser and drove off, according to police.

Pearson detained the passengers as police officers from Lawrence, Salem and the Massachusetts State Police arrived. The cruiser was found a few blocks away on Merrimack View Court in Lawrence.

Police said the cruiser was not damaged, and nothing was missing.

A widespread search by police was being conducted when a gas station worker about 3½ miles away called police about a man inside Ted's Mobil on Route 28 in Methuen, Mass.

The man, who matched Zygarow-ski's description, allegedly told the clerk he had weapons and was going to shoot at police.

Officers from Methuen, Salem, the Essex County Sheriff's Office, Massachusetts State Police and New Hampshire State Police converged on the area.

They received a report that Zygarowski was seen walking through the kitchen of a nearby IHOP just over the state line back in Salem. The officers and troopers set up a perimeter and searched the area with police dogs.

Salem Officer Steve MacPherson spotted a man walking along the rail trail in the area of 265 S. Broadway, police said. Officers approached the man and ordered him to the ground. When he refused, officers struggled with him before taking him into custody and identifying him as Zygarowski.

Police said Zygarowski is facing two counts of simple assault, two counts of resisting arrest, and charges of reckless operation, disobeying a police officer and criminal restraint.

He is being held at the Rockingham County Jail in Brentwood pending his arraignment Monday in 10th Circuit Court, Salem Division.

Zygarowski is also expected to face theft charges in Massachusetts for allegedly stealing the police cruiser.

Additional charges are expected, and the investigation is ongoing, police said. The two passengers cooperated with the investigation and were not charged. One passenger said he repeatedly asked to be let out of the car, police said.

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