Sheriff: Carjacking suspect attempts escape by stealing patrol vehicle

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:22 AM EDT
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Donald Hutt
Donald Hutt(wwny)

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A 45-year-old man is in custody after he allegedly stole a police vehicle early Monday morning.

That was after Donald Hutt was handcuffed and in the backseat of a Jefferson County sheriff patrol vehicle.

It started around 5:40 a.m., Sheriff Colleen O’Neill said in a release, when patrols responded to a report of a robbery at the 7-Eleven store on Factory Street.

Police say Hutt jumped over the counter, swiping 2 packs of cigarettes and getting into a physical altercation with a worker. After struggling with the clerk, Hutt allegedly tried to steal an occupied vehicle in the parking lot across the street either at Mo’s Diner or Precision Towing and Auto Works.

“Sometime during that time, he also kicked in the door and broke the front window at Precision Auto,” said Detective Sergeant Joseph Giaquinto of the Watertown Police Department.

After he broke into the nearby Precision Towing and Auto Works, he was chased by patrols on foot to Public Square, where he tried to carjack another occupied vehicle, but was stopped by a sheriff’s sergeant and taken into custody.

He managed to climb through the handcuffs that were behind his back and into the front seat of the patrol vehicle he was placed in while deputies were interviewing the carjacking victim.

“This is very unusual. And this whole thing is obviously a freak occurrence. They had basically had little time. They turn around to check on the victim of a carjacking and poof, he’s gone,” said Detective Ben Timerman of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office

He drove away and was followed to Arsenal Street and onto Interstate 81, where he sped south to the Adams exit.

O’Neill said there was no need to chase him, because the vehicle could be tracked by what’s known as an automatic vehicle locator. She said police followed at a distance and the radio in the vehicle was disabled remotely, so he wouldn’t know what police were planning.

At the exit, he drove across the median and headed north on Route 11. He ended up on Thompson Boulevard in Watertown and was stopped by a tire deflation device. Hutt was taken into custody a second time at the corner of Gotham Street and Thompson Boulevard.

The stolen vehicle’s engine caught fire, which was put out with fire extinguishers.

“The sergeant that was in the other vehicle involved, went the extra step to make sure he could block in that vehicle and make sure it couldn’t go any further,” said Timerman.

According to Detective Sergeant Joseph Giaquinto, “He was apprehended and he’s currently been charged by our department with Robbery in the 3rd Degree, Petty Larceny and harassments for what happened at the Seven-11 on Factory Street. He’s also been additional charged with Petty Larceny, Criminal Mischief and Burglary for going into Precision Auto before he was apprehended and processed.”

Hutt’s last known address is the Pleasant Night Inn in West Carthage.

Assisting with the investigation were the Watertown Police Department, the Adams Police Department, state police, and Watertown DPW.

No injuries were reported.

Hutt was brought in for arraignment in CAP Court at the Public Safety Building on charges from both the City of Watertown Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office stemming from the incident. In addition to Watertown Police charges, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office charged Hutt with five Penal Law felonies, three Penal Law misdemeanors, two Vehicle & Traffic misdemeanors, and fourteen Vehicle & Traffic infractions.

Hutt was remanded to the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on $100,000 cash bail, $200,000 secured bond, or $400,000 partially secured bond, and will appear in City of Watertown Court Tuesday, August 2nd at 10am.

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