After a wild chase, Southold police arrest Holtsville man for Greenport carjacking with a child in the vehicle

A horrifying incident unfolded Tuesday afternoon when a female driver with her grandchild in the back seat of her car stepped out of the car to enter a Greenport store and saw the car being driven away by an unknown man.

According to Southold police, the unidentified woman had her grandchild secured in a child safety seat in the rear of her Mercedes Benz SUV. The driver stopped on Front Street “to enter a store briefly while her sleeping grandchild remained in the vehicle. While in the store, the female noticed her vehicle being driven away westbound by an unknown subject with her grandchild still in the vehicle.”

At that point, police said a Good Samaritan who was parked in the area “took the female driver into his vehicle and pursued the Mercedes westbound on Rt. 25. The Good Samaritan was able to catch up to the stolen Mercedes in the area of Moore’s Lane and cut it off onto the shoulder.”

The grandmother, the police release said, “was able to get into her stolen SUV in an attempt to rescue her grandchild from the suspect operating the vehicle.”

The suspect then continued to drive off westbound on Rt. 25 with the grandmother and child both in the stolen vehicle.

Police said the Good Samaritan pursued the Mercedes a second time and was able to get the Mercedes to stop near Silvermere Road, where the suspect released the grandmother and child from the stolen vehicle and then continued driving westbound.

A police sector car saw the grandmother and child on the shoulder of the road and gathered information on the vehicle and description of the driver. “Within minutes, the sector car observed the Mercedes traveling westbound near Town Harbor Lane in Southold at a high rate of speed and attempted to catch up to the vehicle,” police said.

The suspect “sped through Southold village at a high rate of speed passing other vehicles” until he eventually struck a guardrail on Route 25, drove onto the Southold American Legion property and came to a stop. Responding officers quickly apprehended the suspect without a struggle and transported him to headquarters for processing, officials said.

The man was identified as 55-year-old Paul Ludeman of Holtsville. He was charged with a long list of felonies, including third-degree grand larceny, aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child in the car (Leandra’s Law), acting in a manner to injure a child, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, driving while intoxicated, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, third-degree fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, use of a vehicle without an interlock device, reckless driving and multiple vehicle and traffic law infractions.

Mr. Ludeman is set to be arraigned in Southold Town Justice Court Wednesday afternoon.