HOOKSETT - A Maine man was arrested Thursday after a car repossession turned violent, ultimately ending in a brief chase, according to police.
Joseph Bates, 39, of Kittery, Maine, has been charged with robbery, disobeying an officer, reckless operation, conduct after an accident, hindering apprehension, criminal mischief, and simple assault.
According to a police news release, a tow truck operator was attempting to repossess Bates' car at Princeton Drive and Backwater Drive near the town's public library just before 9 a.m. Thursday. Bates became confrontational with the driver, according to police, and eventually "became violent," shoving the tow truck operator's head to the ground and stealing the man's cellphone, police said.
At that point, Bates' car was already hooked up to the tow truck. Rather than attempt to unhook it, police said Bates got into the car and "drove the car free from the wrecker," breaking the truck's straps and fleeing the scene.
Police arrived to find Bates leaving the scene as they approached. Officer Donald Broughton made an effort to stop him, but Bates continued his flight, according to police.
A brief chase ensued. Bates was ultimately stopped, however, in an abandoned parking lot on Highland Street about a mile away and was taken into custody.
Asked why police believe Bates took the man's cellphone, Hooksett Police Sgt. Kris Dupris said, "Our best guess is that he took the phone to keep the guy from calling emergency services." The phone was later found "in pieces," Dupris said.
Bates was released on $15,000 personal recognizance bail. He is scheduled to appear in 6th Circuit Court, Hooksett District Division, May 22.