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Manhunt! Cold Car Thief Turns Himself In

After man steals car and breaks down, he takes off through Avon.

A man who led police on a chase through Avon eventually turned himself in Sunday night when it became too cold for him to remain outside.

Avon Police Chief Richard Bosley said a man who began walking away from a broken down car on Nagel Road near Detroit Road began running when police approached him.

“We saw him broken down on the side of the road and he ran,” Bosley said. Police ran the plates and realized the vehicle, a 2003 Ford Taurus, was stolen from Brook Park.

Officers were initially called out at 3:25 p.m. Jan. 20 and searched for more than an hour.

“It was cleared at 3:48 p.m. after Brook Park police took custody of the vehicle,” Bosley said.

The man caused some alarm in the area.

“We were notified Sunday afternoon that the police were chasing a man across  fields north of Detroit Road, from east to west  and to be on the look-out for him,” a resident in the area said. The resident said another resident on Nagel Road saw the man on Nagel Farm but police did not get there in time to arrest  him.

Bosley said the man, Jason Witnik, 41, of Brooklyn, Ohio apparently made it into Westlake where he turned himself into police Sunday night.

“He was hanging out in the cold long enough that he turned himself into Westlake police,” Bosley said.

Westlake Police Capt. Guy Turner said Witnik turned himself in at 11:08 p.m.

The National Weather Service had issued a cold warning for Sunday night for dangerously cold conditions.

Witnik was transferred to Brook Park Police where he was charged with receiving stolen property.

He was charged in Avon Lake Municipal Court on Jan. 21 with receiving stolen property, a fifth-degree felony and obstructing official business, a second degree misemeanor.

Asked if he had additional comments, Bosley said, “Sometimes it helps to know what you’re driving, because the vehicle broke down.”

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linda January 23, 2013 at 06:33 PM
since when is stealing a car a charge of "receiving stolen property"?
Lori E. Switaj January 23, 2013 at 08:06 PM
Linda, per Chief Bosley: The charge was for receiving stolen property because the vehicle was stolen in another community and reported in that community as stolen. We cannot prove who stole the vehicle but can show that the person being charged (Mr. Witnik in this case) was in possession of the vehicle and knew or should have known that the vehicle was stolen.

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