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State police track alleged motorcycle thief going up to 185 mph

Daniel R Thibeault

Daniel R Thibeault

A 31-year-old Massachusetts man was arrested yesterday after authorities said they tracked him driving a stolen motorcycle upwards of 185 mph on Interstate 93 in Canterbury.

Daniel Thibeault of Swansea, Mass., has been charged with reckless conduct, receiving stolen property, disobeying an officer and driving after suspension, the state police said.

At 11:07 a.m., officials in a traffic enforcement plane spotted Thibeault careening south at 134 mph in a 70-mph zone, the police said. Lt. Nicole Armaganian said the aircraft radioed down to troopers on the ground, and they were immediately directed not to pursue the motorcycle, a black 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 1000.

The plane began to take chase. It followed Thibeault as he allegedly weaved through traffic, veering at times into the left-hand shoulder of the highway. Using their own top speed of 200 mph as a guide, officials in the aircraft estimated the motorcycle was going up to between 150 and 185 mph, Armaganian said.

“That’s excessive even for the speeds we see,” Armaganian noted.

Troopers on the ground followed in the distance as directions were radioed down from the aircraft. Thibeault, wearing a helmet and a leather jacket, eventually exited onto Interstate 393 westbound in Concord, Armaganian said. He turned left onto North Main Street, pulled into a parking lot near Pearl Street and began stuffing the jacket and helmet into another vehicle, Armaganian said. Troopers soon arrived and took him into custody.

Thibeault was being held yesterday afternoon on $1,000 cash bail. Authorities did not initially report the theft, but Armaganian said the motorcycle was later confirmed stolen by police officials in Fall River, Mass. Thibeault is scheduled to appear today in Concord’s district court.

Authorities did not believe alcohol or drugs were contributing factors.

The traffic enforcement plane just happened to be in the area at the time, Armaganian said. The plane is deployed frequently during the summer months, whenever weather is good and pilots can coordinate with troopers on the ground. Armaganian said there was a sign on the interstate yesterday alerting drivers to the air surveillance, but that it was unlikely Thibeault could read it, given his speed.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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