Two Hartwick College students who jumped into the Susquehanna River after allegedly stealing a car were being held in Otsego County jail Friday night, authorities said.
According to a media release from the Oneonta Police Department, at about 12:05 a.m. Friday, police went to help state police responding to a report of two subjects who fled from a motor vehicle and had jumped into the Susquehanna River in the area of Hannaford Food store on state Route 23 in the town of Oneonta.
While assisting troopers by the lower Main Street bridge, Oneonta police received a report that a vehicle had been stolen from the municipal parking garage on Market Street in the city. The vehicle description matched that of the automobile from which the subjects had fled.
A short time after the stolen-vehicle report was received, a subject contacted the Oneonta police station to report his friends as missing, the release said. Using the Oneonta police surveillance cameras in the municipal parking garage, the missing subjects were confirmed to be the same subjects who had stolen the car that had been parked there and who later jumped into the river, police said.
Oneonta police charged Ryan A. Van Allen-Cichielo, 22, of Cape Coral, Fla.; and Eric J. Moore, 21, Sioux Falls, S.D.; with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony.
The defendants admitted to jumping into the river to avoid troopers after finding a set of car keys in the road, locating the vehicle to which the keys belonged and taking the vehicle without the owner’s permission, the release said.
Van Allen-Cichielo swam across the Susquehanna River and made his way back onto campus before being arrested, police said.
Moore exited the river by the Home Depot and avoided detection until Friday morning, when he was located and arrested on campus, police said. Neither subject reported any injuries or requested medical treatment.
The defendants were arraigned in Oneonta City Court and sent to Otsego County jail, pending a later court date. The release didn’t include bail information.
Police said the maximum sentence for a conviction of fourth-degree grand larceny is four years in prison.