By Gregory Smith and Amanda Milkovits
PROVIDENCE — He did not make the apprehension, but Central Falls Mayor James Diossa was instrumental in catching two suspected car thieves Wednesday.
“I’m still shocked,” the 29-year-old Diossa said about four hours later.
The mayor was to meet for lunch downtown with former state police Supt. Brendan Doherty, and he was in his own car on Fountain Street when his brief adventure began at about 11:50 a.m.
“I had already parked and was looking for quarters to put into the meter,” he said, when he spotted what he called “a very distinguishable car” pass by. It was a silver 2013 Chevrolet Cruze owned by his lifelong friend, state Rep. Carlos Tobon, D-Pawtucket, and it was occupied by two strangers.
Tobon had told him that his car had been stolen on Parkis Avenue in Elmwood as he visited a business client Monday.
Diossa decided to follow, and he added, “I kept my distance.”
“While I was following, I called the Providence police” and gave them the license plate number, he related. “By the way, excellent work by them.”
When the suspects pulled over and parked on Peck Street downtown, near the Providence Arcade, police cars converged and officers ran after and caught two 17-year-old boys.
One was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and driving without a license. The police found some of Tobon’s belongings in trash cans behind 121 Daboll St. and retrieved his stolen iPad mini from a pawnshop on Broad Street.
The entire experience, including giving a witness statement to the police, lasted about 45 minutes. He called to let the understanding Doherty know that he would be late.
Asked if he was concerned about his personal safety, Diossa replied, “…I needed to get the rep’s car back, that was all that I was thinking.”
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