Sheriff Rick Staly locates stolen car from Connecticut, leading to suspect's arrest
The suspect had rented a car from Enterprise in January and then failed to return it, according to deputies.
| 9:35 a.m. March 11, 2021
Palm Coast Observer
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly located a stolen car on March 10, leading to the arrest of the suspected thief.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office had been alerted by an automated license plate reader to a stolen vehicle out of Connecticut with New Jersey plates that was traveling north on U.S. 1.
Staly, who had just finished a traffic stop on a speeding vehicle, was nearby and spotted the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica Minivan traveling northbound on U.S. 1 crossing Belle Terre Parkway.
He got behind the vehicle and gave updated direction of travel to deputies over the radio for the use of stop sticks on the stolen vehicle.
Cpl. Joe Dailey set up stop sticks near the Kim C. Hammond Justice Center in Bunnell and was able to deflate the passenger side tires on the minivan. The vehicle came to a stop on State Road 100 in Bunnell.
Stephen Allen Nichols, 70, was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle.
Nichols told deputies that the vehicle was a rental and that he had paid for it.
Contact was made with the Enterprise Rental Car company in Waterbury, Connecticut, which confirmed that Nichols rented the vehicle on Jan. 8, 2021. It was supposed to be returned on Jan. 10. Enterprise reported the vehicle stolen on March 1 after it had still not been returned.
The Waterbury Police Department confirmed that the vehicle was stolen.
“I happened to be in the right place at the right time and was able to keep eyes on the vehicle until we could safely conduct a felony traffic stop,” Staly said. “This apprehension was a textbook team effort, and I commend our team for doing a great job and recovering the stolen rental car and making the arrest without anyone getting hurt.”
Nichols was placed under arrest and charged with Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle. He was booked into the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility where he is being held on a $2,500 bond.