Update: Trio charged in Tanger heist that led to fatal crash

06/28/2011 8:08 AM |

Two Brooklyn men and a teenage woman have been charged in connection with a Monday afternoon clothing heist at Tanger Outlets that led to a police chase that ended when the trio crashed a Lincoln Town Car into a Suburu in West Sayville, killing a woman in the Suburu and critically injuring her husband.

Additional charges are pending review with the district attorney’s office, according to a release issued Tuesday by a sheriff’s department spokesman.

The Town Car’s driver, Cordell Tucker, 24, and his two passengers, Rashawn Naquan Smith, 26, and 18-year-old Essence Smith of Troy, N.Y. were arrested at the scene and charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Ms. Smith was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, said Chief Michael Sharkey, who serves as a spokesman for Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent Demarco.

Sheriff’s deputies initiated the pursuit at Exit 64 of the Long Island Expressway after spotting the 2000 Town Car, which had been described by Riverhead Police in a 1 p.m. radio call, officials said. “A registration check revealed switched plates not returning to the vehicle,” according to the sheriff’s press release, which was issued just after noon Tuesday.

“A traffic stop was initiated at Exit 64, Route 112; the subject vehicle fled the scene as officers approached on foot,” it reads.

Chief Sharkey said in the release that Suffolk County Police Department officers were also involved in the ensuing pursuit, which lasted for about eight minutes as the cars traveled south on Route 112 and then west on Sunrise Highway. The trio got off at Lincoln Avenue, where the sedan hit the Suburu driven by Alan Sacher of Holbrook, who was with his wife, Gail. Ms. Sacher later died at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.

According to Newsday, thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was swiped from the True Religion store — a frequent target of shoplifters at Tanger — before the suspects fled the area via the Long Island Expressway.

Chief Sharkey on Monday told Newsday that he had not yet met with investigators to determine how fast the deputies or suspects were going.

He did say the authorities “backed off” at points during the chase.

“The defendant was obviously operating in a reckless manner,” Sharkey said. “We have to take care.”

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3 Comment

  • Just to clarify, it was the Sheriff’s that took the pursuit. Not the SCPD. This is not the first incident for the Good ‘ole Suffolk Sheriff’s. About two weeks ago they engaged in a pursuit of a Motor Cycle at about 100 miles per hour when it was pouring rain out. The Motor Cycle crashed into the back of a taxi cab. I’m pretty sure everyone was fine in that incident but that still doesn’t make their gung-ho attitude justifiable.

    In this latest incident, like all the others, was pretty chaotic. There was several agencies chasing the vehicle, including an unmarked police car. The sargeant at one point even abandoned his patrol vehicle to hop in another car with another officer in mid-pursuit. Shortly after, the driver of the Town Car crashed at Lincoln Ave x Sunrise Hwy.

    It doesn’t help that it took over 10 minutes for ambulances to get on scene, and another half hour to set up a landing zone behind K-Mart and finally call for aviation to the scene. The helicopter didn’t leave for the hospital untill probably a half hour after their arrival. It’s not just the sheriff’s, it’s the SCPD, it’s the whole County that’s screwed up. You get what you pay for, and since all the ambulance company personnel and Fire personnel are volunteer, you’re gunna get just that.. shit service. The pagers go off when they’re trying to live their normal lives. Tommy mowing his lawn, Joe and Sean getting shit-faced at the Brick-House Brewery, and they’re all expected to drop what they’re doing and race to save lifes. These guys run around to calls in their own private vehicles with their own private lights and their own private radios racing at dangerous speeds thinking their cops. And it just never turns out good in the end. Volunteer services may work in rural areas, but Suffolk and Nassau Counties are not by any means rural areas. We are the most heavily populated area next to New York City. And anyone who’s had the unfortunate experiences with loved ones getting injured or needing fast medical attention knows what I’m talking about. SCPD takes their time responding to calls. We saw that with the Medford incident where Laffer shot down four innocent people in a drug store. Sure, they caught him in the long run because he was stupid, but they sped right by him as he was walking back to his house to turn on the news and watch TV.

    They could’ve caught these people in the town car in the long run, too. Instead of pushing (probably a couple of teenage dare devils thinking their Indy race car drivers) to the limit to inadvertently kill two innocent people who were just trying to make it to a destination. (Meanwhile, if the sergeant called off the pursuit, instead of abandoning his patrol car to jump in another officers car)… they had their plate number, they probably had them on surveillance tape taking to merchandise. There would’ve been no problem having a few detectives come over their house and rip them out of bed at 3am.

  • “A registration check revealed switched plates not returning to the vehicle,”

    I’m sure the surprised people woken up in the middle of the night would have thanked the detectives for returning their stolen plates.

    And of course, the criminals are not to blame… they didnt mean to kill the people. They just wanted to steal and get away with it. How dare the police chase them.

    I’m assuming that your expertise in this area is based on more then just staying at a Holiday Inn one night? The problem is I don’t see one suggestion or thought about making anything better.

    So why don’t you go join the SCPD and help make it better? Or lobby for paid EMS and Fire services so those awful, drunk volunteers dont have to drive around anymore?

    It is very easy to criticize from the sidelines.

    Oh… please tell me this isn’t you??? Googled your name to see if you actually were involved with SCPD or Fire services. Yep, its you.


    WOW… you don’t have a grudge do you? No wonder you have a problem with cops chasing thieves.

    High Speed pursuit that leads to innocent deaths are a serious matter and I’m sure it will be addressed, but not by a jilted and obsessed wanna-be who can’t play with the lights and sirens anymore.