Man Gets Jail Sentence For Stolen Van Joy Ride

OCEAN CITY – A Burtonsville man arrested in June for stealing a hotel carpet cleaning van with the hoses still attached and taking it on a joy ride through the downtown area while being pursued by police before crashing into a home on 10th Street was found guilty this week of motor vehicle theft and driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to a combined four years in jail.

Jesus J. Vasquez, 26, appeared in District Court on Monday to face over 25 charges from the incident dating back to June 8. He pleaded guilty to unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to three years in jail for that conviction. He was also found guilty of driving under the influence and received an additional year in jail for that charge.

Around 1 a.m. on June 8, a Harrison Group carpet cleaning van was parked outside the Hilton Hotel and Suites on 33rd Street. The cleaning crews working inside left the van running because it has to be running to operate the carpet cleaning equipment inside. A short time later, a man, later identified as Jesus J. Vasquez, 26, of Burtonsville, entered the van and drove off with it.

The cleaning crew reported the theft and a short time later, OCPD officers spotted the stolen van driving south on Philadelphia Ave. still dragging the cleaning hoses, which were connected to equipment inside, behind the vehicle. Marked OCPD patrol cars attempted to stop Vasquez at 16th Street, but the van eluded the officers and continued south.

When Vasquez got to 15th Street and Baltimore Ave., he continued driving south on Baltimore Ave. against one-way northbound traffic in speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Vehicles traveling north on Baltimore Ave. quickly swerved out of the way of the speeding stolen van with the hoses still trailing behind in order to avoid a collision.

Vasquez continued south on Baltimore Ave. until he reached 10th Street, when he made an abrupt turn across the roadway through a driveway. The van then crashed through a wooden fence at 1002 Baltimore Ave. However, that was not the end of the chase. The van continued through a vacant lot at 10th Street and Baltimore Ave when Vasquez jumped out of the vehicle while it was still moving and attempted to flee on foot.

The now-driverless van continued across the vacant lot until it struck the side of the house located on 10th Street. OCPD officers pursued Vasquez on foot and he was taken into custody after a brief struggle. Once in custody, Vasquez was given a breath test, which determined the suspect to be intoxicated.

Vasquez was charged with over 25 counts related to the theft of the van and the pursuit by police.