Branford police discover stolen West Haven vehicle

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) —  A Branford police officer discovered a stolen vehicle with the suspect in the driver’s seat during his patrol Tuesday Morning.

While a Branford police officer was patrolling the area of Leetes Island Road around 4:30am, his attention was drawn to a Honda Civic at the Branford Shell Gas Station.

He thought it was odd that the car was not covered in morning dew like the rest of the vehicles parked nearby.

The officer was examining the car when someone popped up from the driver’s seat with his hands raised.

As the officer spoke with the man, he noticed that the column under the steering wheel was missing. The car was also running without a key in the ignition.

The man gave police false identification but was later identified by a fingerprint system as Esteban Melendez of New Bedford Massachusetts.

Branford Communication personnel contacted the car’s owner, who realized it was stolen from his West Haven home several hours earlier.

Police took Melendez into custody where they found a small bag of marijuana in his pocket.

Melendez was charged with Criminal Trover 1st Degree, Larceny 3rd Degree, and Possession of under 1/2 ounce of Marijuana. He was released on a $10,000 bond and will appear in New Haven Court on Tuesday.

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