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Neighbor tracks car thief suspect until police arrive

May 23, 2012

An 18-year-old Milwaukee man is facing vehicle theft and bail-jumping charges following a crash in front of a Derby Avenue residence in Wauwatosa last week.

Brandon I. Smith was apprehended by police early evening on May 17 after a neighbor, who witnessed an earlier crash involving another stolen vehicle, drove his own car to track the suspect and two other teens until police arrived.

According to Wauwatosa police:

The neighbor heard a crash and saw a Plymouth Acclaim burst through a fence, then strike a Ford Explorer in the 4700 block of North 100th Street. The driver and passenger abandoned the Plymouth - later found to be stolen from Milwaukee - and jumped into a Chrysler Concorde, also later identified as a stolen vehicle and allegedly driven by Smith.

The neighbor, driving his own car, followed the teens to nearby Madison Park. When he exited his vehicle to talk to them, they drove off, so he again got in his car to pursue the Chrysler until it jumped the curb in the 10900 block of West Derby Avenue at 6:45 p.m.

All three occupants bailed from the vehicle, but the neighbor continued to pursue them in a foot chase, eventually catching up to Smith and restraining him until officers arrived.

Smith is on bail for a vehicle theft that occurred May 6. He also has at least four prior vehicle theft arrests.

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