BRANFORD -- Three juveniles are in custody after they stole a car, then crashed it into a police cruiser.
Police say the incident happened just around 5 a.m. Tuesday. The officer who was struck was part of an investigation around the Indian Neck area of Branford after a report of three people entering into cars.
Police were told that the people were fleeing the are ain a car, traveling toward Indian Neck Avenue. As Sergeant Dominic Eula tried to drive onto the street, the fleeing car collided with his cruiser.
Sergeant Eula was able to leave his cruiser through the passenger door, and nab one of the juveniles who was still in the back seat of the stolen car.
Two other suspects fled the area. One of them was caught a short time later by the East haven Police Department's K9.
Chief Kevin Halloran said the community has been plagued by car thefts and stolen items from cars over the past year.
He said based on the data with surrounding communities, over 100 cars had been stolen since the first of the year, "Based on an average of $15,000 per car, the total loss is upwards of $1.5 million. The juveniles captured this morning are repeat offenders of this type of crime, and are involved with other types of serious crime.
Chief Halloran hopes to be collaborating with other area police chiefs to strengthen juvenile laws, and hopefully reduce the ability for juveniles to re-offend.
Branford Police also continue to remind residents not to leave their keys in their cars, and to remember to lock their cars with unattended.