A man who said a Woodstock Police Department cruiser was “calling to me,” has been indicted for allegedly stealing the vehicle earlier this year.
On March 17, the Grafton County Grand Jury handed up a charge of felony theft by unauthorized taking against Owen Davidson, 24, formerly of 34 Webster Road, Lexington, Mass., in connection with the Jan. 24 incident.
According to court documents, the police cruiser was stolen at around 6:30 that morning from the municipal lot the police department shares with Woodstock Town Hall. Police vehicles are parked on the east side of the lot, near a side door into the department.
Some 40 minutes after Officer Luis Arias notified him of the theft, Police Chief Kevin Millar located the stolen cruiser parked in front of an apartment complex on Main Street, also known as Route 3.
Millar confronted Davidson at gunpoint. After taking him into custody, he asked Davison why he had stolen the cruiser, with the chief writing in his probable-cause affidavit that “Mr. Davidson responded with something to the effect of ‘it was calling to me.”
Davidson is due in Grafton County Superior Court at 10 a.m. July 31 for a competency hearing. The order for a competency evaluation has been sealed by Judge Peter Bornstein, who set bail for Davidson at $10,000 unsecured bond.
In addition to allegedly stealing the cruiser, Davidson used its police-band radio, Millar wrote in the affidavit, saying that as he was coming into Woodstock, he heard a voice that “appeared to be that of a civilian male speaking to the officers. There was talk of a firearm though it wasn’t clear or coherent.”
After spotting the stolen cruiser, Millar, who was in an unmarked vehicle, said he parked at the Woodstock Fire Department to observe activity near it.
“The headlights were on,” Millar wrote, “the vehicle was running and the driver’s door was ajar.”
After several minutes, “a tall male,” later identified as Davidson, appeared, wrote Millar, noting that Davidson was “Cautious in his movements and hyper vigilant.”
As Millar moved toward Davidson and the stolen cruiser, he saw Davidson reaching into the open passenger window and collecting property. Millar ordered Davison to place his hands on the roof of the cruiser and then handcuffed him.
Although Davidson appeared “very startled,” he complied with the order, said Millar, who then asked what Davidson was doing.
Davidson, Millar said, “was blunt in stating that he was retrieving his (the italic emphasis in the affidavit is Millar’s) electronics. I noted a laptop computer and another electronic device on the front passenger seat of the patrol car.”
When Millar asked how the electronics got into the cruiser, “Mr. Davidson was not shy to announce that he stole the vehicle,” said Millar, who in questioning Davidson, came to recognize that it was Davidson’s voice he heard earlier on the police-band radio.
Millar, in response to an e-mail request seeking comment, said the cruiser that was stolen “was idling outside of the police department while the officer was inside. The key had not been left behind however the driver’s door was unlocked.”
There was no damage to the vehicle, he added, and when asked if there were firearms inside it, Millar said that “A duty rifle was secured in the trunk of the patrol car but access could not be gained.”
“The Woodstock Police Department regularly reviews policy and makes additions or revisions as needed,” Millar said.