(WJLA) - According to police, on March 16 at around 1 a.m., 27-year-old James Michael Puebla Berling hopped into his father’s police cruiser and took off with an 18-year-old female acquaintance.
A Fairfax County Police officer, Berling’s father wasn’t home at the time.
Authorities say that at some point during the joy ride, a Virginia State Trooped spotted the car on Route 29 in Centreville, speeding and with the lights on. The trooper followed the cruiser back to the officer’s home, and upon arrival, the driver and his passenger fled.
"I came home and there were cop cars lined up along this side of the street and that side of the street," said Centreville resident Chrissy Treires. "The lights were going off like crazy and I didn't know what was going on and I though I heard helicopters."
Berling and Lee were soon caught, and police say he is in trouble for more than the joy ride; they allege that earlier that day, the 27-year-old discharged a firearm on the property, and at one point was even wearing his father’s police-issued uniform shirt during the ride.
"It bothers me a lot that somebody would take there father's car, an official government-issued car, and take a joy ride like that," said Treires. "That was dangerous and it's very irresponsible."