MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ — Officers chased an SUV stolen out of Westfield for 11 miles Thursday night but broke off the pursuit when the vehicle exited the highway in Newark, police said.

At 7:10 p.m., Mountainside police spotted the Jeep Wrangler, which had been stolen out of Westfield the day before, after a key fob was left inside it, Chief Joseph Giannuzzi said in a statement. The officers saw the vehicle on Route 22 near the Springfield border, Giannuzzi said.

“As the police vehicle pulled behind the stolen Jeep Wrangler, it increased speed and continued on Route 22 West,” Giannuzzi said. The jeep made a U-Turn and began heading east, he said. Officers chased the vehicle east to the Garden State Parkway north and then onto Route 78 east, he said.

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“When the vehicle exited at West Peddie [Street] in Newark, Mountainside Police terminated the pursuit out of concern for public safety,” Giannuzzi said.

Nobody was injured, he said. It is the second time in two weeks Mountainside police found themselves chasing a vehicle that had been left unsecured and subsequently was stolen out of Westfield.

On Nov. 28, borough police found a stolen car wrecked at Mountain Avenue and Route 22 and while investigating that crash, saw another stolen vehicle speed past, police said. Police gave chase and later learned that both the stolen vehicle and crashed vehicle had been left unsecured and were stolen out of Westfield.

“Mountainside Police once again wish to stress the need to lock your vehicles and remove all key fobs from them,” Giannuzzi said Friday.

Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh

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