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Fort Drum soldier charged in car theft, police chase

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State troopers arrested a Fort Drum man early Saturday morning after he allegedly stole a sport utility vehicle on post and then was involved in a series of hit-and-run accidents, finally getting caught following a brief foot chase near the state police barracks off Route 37 in the town of Pamelia.

Daniel J. Longnecker, 27, of 10863A Omaha St., Fort Drum, was charged with theft of a motor vehicle, multiple counts of vandalism, driving while intoxicated, third-degree felony grand larceny, three counts of third-degree felony criminal mischief and fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.

Investigators said Mr. Longnecker stole a 2009 Mercury Mariner from Utah Street and was involved in several hit-and-run accidents on post. The incident began about 2 a.m., said a state trooper who declined to comment further.

Mr. Longnecker allegedly then drove the damaged vehicle to Allen’s Budget Motel on Route 342 in the town of Pamelia, where he abandoned it. According to police, he subsequently damaged a 2004 Subaru parked at the motel by smashing its rear window and trying to force it out of gear.

As state police and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies approached the motel, Longnecker fled into nearby woods investigators said. He also tried to enter a nearby Route 37 home, police said.

Police later saw him in the parking lot of the state police barracks on state Route 37, where they saw him damage two other vehicles there, investigators said.

Mr. Longnecker, who was arraigned in LeRay Town Court, was remanded to the Metro-Jefferson County Public Safety Building in lieu of $5,000 bail.

It was unclear Saturday night what prompted the incident, how long it lasted or the extent to which the vehicles were damaged. No one was hurt.

With the investigation continuing, Mr. Longnecker is expected to face additional vehicular and traffic charges, state police said. He also faces military charges.

State police were assisted by military police and the Evans Mills Ambulance Squad.

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