Man accused of stealing police crusier, rifle

Vermont State Police have recovered the patrol rifle and a cruiser that stolen early Tuesday morning in Rutland and arrested the person they believe is responsible.

Timothy Gabriel, 29, is accused of taking a cruiser and the Sig Sauer Model 400 .223-caliber patrol rifle.

Police said the cruiser was taken from a parking lot near Cpl. Christopher Loyzelle’s residence in Rutland. Loyzelle had gone off duty at 2 a.m. and parked the 2021 Ford SUV in a lot in sight of his residence. Troopers in the Vermont State Police’s Field Force Division are assigned take-home cruisers.

Police are continuing to investigate how the suspect got into the cruiser, according to a news release. They have been unable to determine whether the cruiser was locked.  Department policy requires them to be locked with the windows secured. The rifle was loaded as is standard practice.

A key was left inside the vehicle. Gun racks have to be secured independently and cannot be accessed by the vehicle key. The rack and locking mechanism were damaged.

The vehicle was eventually abandoned outside Belden’s Construction in Rutland, where an employee discovered the SUV and alerted State Police at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Police found surveillance footage depicting a man, later identified as Gabriel, get out of the car and then leave the area with what appeared to be a rifle in his hand, according to a news release. Gabriel is prohibited from having a gun because of several prior felony convictions.

At about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Vermont State Police located Gabriel walking on Cherry Street in Burlington. He initially refused commands to surrender before being taken into custody.

After receiving tips from the public, the rifle was recovered on Thursday in an abandoned pull-off in the vicinity of Exit 3 in Arlington.

Gabriel, who has addresses in Burlington and Rutland, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Burlington on a charge of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. He was held without bail pending further proceedings, according to a news release. He faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.

Loyzelle’s duty status is unchanged. State Police are continuing to investigate.