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Chase Involving U-Haul Ends In Fiery Crash In Revere

REVERE (CBS) -- One man is under arrest after Saugus Police say he led police on a chase in a U-Haul truck, struck a Revere Police cruiser, and crashed into an auto body shop, causing a fire.

Robert Silvia, 50 of Cambridge, is charged with breaking and entering, attempt to commit larceny from a building, driving with a revoked license as a habitual traffic offender, speeding, and several motor vehicle violations.

The chase began around 3 a.m. Sunday in Saugus when police tried to pull over a U-Haul suspected in a break-in at Santoro's Sub-Villa on Essex Street.

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The U-Haul police say drove into the auto body shop at the end of the chase. (WBZ-TV)

Police responded to a burglary alarm, and found the glass doors of the shop smashed. A Saugus officer noticed that, just before the alarm, a U-Haul truck was parked outside.

When that U-Haul was later found by officers on Walnut Street, they said Silvia drove off at high speed.

Nobody was hurt in the chase, which went from Saugus through Lynn and into Revere.

Police said Silvia struck a Revere Police cruiser, but the officer was outside of the cruiser and able to move out of the way.

revere crash
Gulino's Auto Body on Broadway, which caught fire when the U-Haul crashed into it. (WBZ-TV)

He then crashed into Gulino's Auto Body on Broadway. The U-Haul caught fire, which eventually spread to the shop, and the Revere Fire Department extinguished the flames.

Police found Silvia inside the building, and took him into custody.

"At first, everything was just really red and it was just really smoky, like all smoke, coming this way," Tyler Scearbo said.

The Suffolk University student was up late at home across the street around 3 a.m. when a U-Haul truck slammed into the auto body shop.

Scearbo immediately grabbed his phone and started recording.

"The sign exploded, like something you see in a movie. It popped and the lightbulbs going everywhere and sparks are flying. It's kinda something not cool to see, but wouldn't really expect it to happen," Scearbo said.

The fire from the U-Haul  spread to the building.

U-Haul fire
A fire breaks out at a Revere auto body shop after a U-Haul crashes into it. (Photo credit: Tyler Scearbo)

Scearbo says the owner of the auto shop, who was away on vacation, was shocked.

"My parents are good friends with him. He always helps us out with our cars and stuff. We gave him a call when it happened and let him know what was going on. He was a little upset about it," Scearbo said.

The U-Haul crash and fire was the result of a police chase that began outside a Saugus business.

"And broke right through the front, just sort of cracked through the glass and then pushed himself through," store manager Grady O'Brien said.

Surveillance cameras inside Santoro's Sub Villa on Route 1 in Saugus captured video of possibly the same suspect breaking into the sandwich shop before prompting a police chase.

After breaking into the front, the suspect can be seen smashing the office manager's window, unlocking the door and starts rummaging inside there.

The owner says he was inside a total of a minute and 31 seconds before leaving.

While inside, he tripped the security alarm.

"It's terrifying. That could have been a lot worse if any of us were still here," O'Brien added.

Saugus Police say an alarm was also set off and the front window smashed around the same time down the road at Fuddruckers. An ATM located at the restaurant is now gone.

Authorities are still investigating a motive.

Silvia is expected to be arraigned Monday morning in Lynn District Court.


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