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Police looking for Florida man after wild chase with gunfire in Astoria

Police looking for Florida man after wild chase with gunfire in Astoria
By Christina Santucci

Police identified a suspect who allegedly struck a police officer with a stolen pickup truck in Astoria Thursday after cops tried to pull him over in connection with a purse snatching in East Elmhurst earlier in the day, the NYPD said.

Authorities believe 61-year-old Gary Sarback, of Lake Worth, Fla., first allegedly grabbed a woman’s pocketbook in East Elmhurst Thursday at about 4:15 p.m. After she chased the suspect to the black Ford pickup he was driving, the woman was dragged by the vehicle a short distance before the suspect drove off, police said.

Later when officers ran the plates on the vehicle, they found out it had been stolen from West Palm Beach, Fla. Tuesday and that a .38-caliber revolver had been in the vehicle at the time, the NYPD said.

At about 9 p.m., officers in an unmarked cruiser happened upon the stolen truck near Crescent Street and Broadway in East Elmhurst and tried to pull over the driver before opening fire, police said.

Each of the two police officers fired one round, and authorities are investigating to see if Sarback allegedly shot back, a spokesman for the NYPD said.

One of the officers was hit by the pickup truck as it drove off, and both of the city’s Finest were taken to Cornell Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and then treated and released, police said.

Authorities launched a massive manhunt for Sarback, even shutting down the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge for about 30 minutes.

The NYPD said the vehicle was found a few blocks away on 24th Street and 37th Avenue, and authorities said they identified Sarback as a suspect through a cell phone found in the area.

Anyone with information in regards to the whereabouts of Gary Sarback is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS, submit tips by logging onto www.crimestoppers.com or text 274637(CRIMES) before entering TIP577.

Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at timesledgerphotos@gmail.com or by phone at 718-260-4589.

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