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Suspected Burglar Leads Police on Chase Through Three Towns

After getting stuck during a burglary, suspect attempts to outrun police before crashing driving the wrong way on Route 8.

A man suspected of burglarizing homes in several local communities led police on a high-speed chase through three towns late Monday morning.

The incident occurred when Middlebury Police were dispatched to an alarm at 192 Regan Road at 11:40 a.m., police said. Middlebury Officer Al Cronin encountered a red Mazda Pick-up truck stuck in the driveway and also noticed that the front door of the house was kicked in, police said. 

Cronin ordered 42-year-old Eric Nienstadt to get out of the vehicle. Nienstadt ignored the order, stepped on the gas to free his truck and drove off, nearly hitting Cronin, who had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck, police said.  

Nienstadt fled as police chased him into Naugatuck down Route 63; he then turned around back into Middlebury and got on I-84 headed in the wrong direction, police said. He got off at the next exit, near Naugatuck Valley Community College on Chase Parkway, Naugatuck police said.

Police broke off the pursuit and instead, attempted to figure where he would get off, officers said.

Nienstadt eventually got on Route 8 heading northbound in the southbound lane near Exit 35 and crashed into an oncoming vehicle, police said. He jumped out of the truck and ran toward the Brooklyn section of Waterbury. Officers chased Nienstadt and Naugatuck detectives Amanda Devan and Sgt. Randy Ireland caught him on John Street near Congress Avenue, said Lt. Bryan Cammarata, Naugatuck police spokesman. He said nobody was injured in the incidents. 

Nienstadt, whose last known addresses were at 7 New St. in Danbury and on 47 Irion St. in Waterbury, faces multiple charges including: criminal attempt at first-degree assault; third-degree burglary; third-degree larceny; three counts of first-degree reckless endangerment; second-degree criminal mischief; four counts of third-degree criminal mischief; and three counts of disobeying the direction of an officer.

He was held on a $500,000 bond and will be arraigned tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Waterbury Superior Court.

Police in several local towns, including Naugatuck, are investigating to see if he is connected to burglaries in the area. 

In addition to Middlebury charges, Nienstadt faces four violation of probation warrants will also be served at Danbury Superior Court.

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