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Published: Thursday, 4/24/2003

Vacationing police chief nabs suspect in burglary

Driving home about noon Tuesday for a half-day's vacation, Toledo police Chief Mike Navarre heard a broadcast come over the police radio in his unmarked cruiser.

An apartment at 434 West Alexis Rd. was being burglarized, and the suspect had a red Ford Aerostar van.

The chief was northbound on Talmadge Road when he saw a van matching the description coming from the other direction. He got a glimpse of the license plate number and the driver, who matched the suspect's description.

When traffic cleared, the chief turned around and followed the van, which pulled into the parking lot at Westfield Shoppingtown Franklin Park. He asked a dispatcher to verify the license plate number.

When the van pulled into a parking space, the chief pulled in behind it. The driver saw a police officer was behind him and tried to back up but could not. When he began to get out of the van, the chief pulled his department-issued handgun, told the man he was under arrest, took the keys out of the van, and waited for officers in marked patrol cars.

Patrick Hitt, 38, was charged with the burglary.

“It's nice to receive recognition; however, this is the type of police work that is done every day by our officers that goes without notice,” the chief said yesterday.

Hitt, who has no permanent address and has prior convictions for burglary and other property crimes, was being held in the Lucas County Jail last night in lieu of a $10,000 bond ordered during an arraignment in Toledo Municipal Court.

He was seen breaking into an apartment and taking a television, among other items. The apartment manager gave police the description of the van and the license plate.

Although he hasn't been a street officer for several years, the chief said people shouldn't be surprised to see him at the scenes of incidents. He often goes on ride-alongs and sometimes arrests are made.

“My radio's on all the time. I'm always looking,” he said.

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