Cops: Middletown man stole taxi from cab driver
By MICHELLE SAHN
A Middletown man headed home from a Belmar bar in a taxi, but before the cabbie
reached his destination, the township man grabbed him, threatened him and took the vehicle, police said.
Police arrested Jason Burkowski, 24, of Park Avenue in the Belford section of town around 3:10 a.m. today. He was charged with carjacking, impersonating a police officer, simple assault and driving while intoxicated. He was also issued summonses for motor vehicle violations, police said.
Burkowski was a passenger in a taxi, and at the intersection of Route 35 and Navesink River Road in Middletown, he demanded that the cabbie pull over, said Detective Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti.
When the driver stopped, Burkowski grabbed him and ordered him out of the cab, the lieutenant said.
The driver initially refused, but Burkowski continued to threaten him and told him he was a police officer, said Capriotti.
The cabbie got out of the vehicle and ran away, but Burkowski chased him northbound on Route 35, police said.
About a block away, the cabbie spotted two people, and asked them to call police. He told them that Burkowski had identified himself as an officer, so the two witnesses asked the 24-year-old for identification, police said.
When the Middletown man failed to produce identification, the witnesses dialed 911.
Meanwhile, Burkowski ran back to the cab and drove away.
As Officer Adam Colfer and Corporal Richard Fusella headed to the scene, they spotted the taxi, and they pulled Burkowski over at the intersection of Route 35 North and Apple Farm Road.
They took Burkowski into custody, and his bail was set at $102,500.
The cab driver was not injured, police said.
Officer John Soltysik assisted in the initial investigation and Detective First Class
Gerald Weimer is the lead detective in the follow-up investigation.