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Woman arrested after chase in stolen Malden Police cruiser

MALDEN – A woman was arrested late Tuesday night after investigators said she stole a Malden Police cruiser and led Massachusetts State Police on a chase.

Renelle Sonia, 38, of Malden, is charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, negligent operation, unlicensed operation, and failure to stop for police.

It started around 11 p.m. when an officer was taking a witness into the police station and parked his cruiser out front. According to Malden Police Detective Captain Marc Gatcomb, when the unidentified officer came back, the cruiser was gone.

Malden Police issued a “be on the lookout” alert and, a short time later, a state trooper spotted the cruiser being driven erratically on the Zakim Bridge in Boston.

State Police said the trooper tried to stop Sonia on Interstate 93, but she wouldn’t pull over. Police followed the stolen cruiser as it left I-93 at Columbia Road and continued onto Massachusetts Avenue. Sonia eventually stopped at Victoria’s Diner and was arrested.

No one was hurt, nothing was taken from the cruiser and there was no damage to it, Gatcomb said.

“It’s one of those incidents that just happened very quickly. I would say there are easier ways to get transportation. If someone needs a ride they can easily contact the police station, they don’t have to take matters into their own hands,” Gatcomb told WBZ-TV Wednesday.

He said Sonia was not known to police and that the incident appears to be “just a chance encounter.” The cruiser was cleaned and put back into service.

“We’ll be looking into it and it will definitely be a teaching lesson for all,” Gatcomb said. 

Sonia was arraigned Wednesday in Boston Municipal Court in Roxbury. Her attorney said she as an “extensive” history of mental health.

Attorneys agreed that Sonia would be admitted to Tewksbury State Hospital for 20 days and is next scheduled to appear in court on June 27.

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