STILLWATER — A man whom Stillwater police said is a citizen of Syria was charged with possession of a car that was stolen in Canada and other crimes after a high-speed chase on Friday, police said.
Zholef Skaf, 28, whose last known address was in Vancouver, British Columbia, was arrested on charges of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, a felony, and misdemeanor charges including reckless driving, unlawfully fleeing a police officer, attempted escape and obstructing government administration.
Skaf was later turned over to the Department of Homeland Security to face possible federal charges for crashing the car through a barrier to illegally enter the United States.
Police said the incident began with a 911 call about a reckless driver passing others at a high speed on U.S. Route 4 between Schuylerville and Stillwater. The vehicle was observed traveling through the village at high speed, but police were unable to stop it. The vehicle was later found by state police crashed on Route 67 in Malta.
In Malta, he is accused of trying to flee police and steal another vehicle. The vehicle he was driving had been reported stolen in Canada, and police said he had crashed it through a border checkpoint barrier to enter the United States.
At the Stillwater police station, where he was taken for processing, police said Skaf became combative and police had to use a Taser to subdue him. Police noted that he would have been released without bail under New York’s bail reform laws, but instead he was turned over to the Department of Homeland Security to face possible federal charges.
Mechanicville police, state police, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and Canadian authorities assisted with the case, town police said.