Undie thief leads police in pursuit

Paul Lewis and Donna Fanelli-Lewis (Photo provided by the Manchester Police Dept.)

MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Manchester police worked with security at the Shoppes at Buckland Hills as well as Hartford officers in chasing down a thief who had sped off with 62 pairs of panties in tow.

Thursday afternoon around 2 p.m., Buckland Hills security personnel spotted 61-year-old Paul Lewis entering the mall’s Victoria’s Secret shop with a tote bag, which police say he proceeded to stuff with 62 pairs of underwear valued around $980. Security had been tracking Lewis, who was already a suspect in a string of thefts at the mall, and tipped Manchester police off as he exited the mall.

Working with the description relayed to them by security, Manchester officers pursued Lewis from Buckland Street to the Burr Corners plaza parking lot, where he sped off towards East Hartford. An officer in an unmarked car continued the pursuit shortly after, following Lewis into Hartford.

Manchester police say that with the help of Hartford cruisers the chase ended on Garden Street in the city, where they seized the bag of undies and arrested Lewis. Lewis was charged with engaging police in pursuit, larceny, reckless driving, and reckless endangerment.

Donna Fanelli-Lewis showed up at the Manchester Police Department later on to claim her car, which her husband, Paul Lewis, had been driving. Only police discovered the 56-year-old was wanted for failure to appear in court, and she was also arrested.

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