By Nick Curcuru
A local man who hopped into a city police cruiser and took it for a quarter-mile ride early Sunday morning told police he took it because he feared some "punks" were going to do so instead.
Donald Roberts, 55, of 53 Sumner St., Gloucester, had a charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle continued without a finding for two years yesterday in Gloucester District Court.
Roberts was arrested early Sunday morning after police say he drove a police cruiser from the corner of Rogers Street and Washington Street down to the Gloucester House.
Police said they were tending to a medical emergency on Main Street when Roberts walked by them, and said "Hey."
When officers went back to retrieve the cruiser, they noticed it was gone. Police then learned that the cruiser was parked a short distance up Rogers Street — in plain view and on the side of the street in front of The Gloucester House restaurant.
A taxi driver told police he had seen a man, who police later learned was Roberts, get out of the cruiser.
When police ultimately confronted Roberts on Rogers Street, he admitted he took the vehicle, but said he had done so because "punks were going to take it."
Nick Curcuru can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3461, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org