A domestic violence suspect  authorities say led police on a chase in a stolen SUV — setting off a manhunt that sparked shelter-in-place precautions at several school districts in Middlesex County — was caught by police late Thursday afternoon.

A staff member at an Autozone tells New Jersey 101.5 Lee Nadeau Jr. dumped the stolen SUV there, then returned to the store late Thursday afternoon — and he came face-to-face with Nadeau.

Nadeau, 53, was taken into custody in East Brunswick at 4:45 p.m., according to East Brunswick Police Lt. Sean Goggins.

So far, police have not disclosed any further details about the "domestic violence incidents" that they previously said happened on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning around Middlesex County. They also haven't said much about his apprehension, beyond that he'd been caught.

But Autozone sales manager Robert Crotzer offered up more details, based on what he says was his own up-close encounter with Nadeau.

Nadeau had dumped the stolen vehicle around 1 p.m., in the parking lot of the auto parts store on Racetrack Road and Route 18, according to Crotzer. That was right around the same time East Brunswick police issued an alert about Nadeau, referencing the domestic violence incidents and police pursuits.

Crotzer said he had seen the alert about Nadeau Jr.​, including a photo of the man, before being sent out for an auto part delivery around 4:30 p.m. Crotzer said while walking outside in the store's parking lot, he dropped the part, and it was picked up by a white male who handed it to him.

Crotzer said the man fit Nadeau's description — except by then he was clean-shaven. Crotzer said he called police and told them that he thought it was Nadeau.

Crotzer said he continued making his delivery, and was called a few minutes later by a co-worker, who said police arrested Nadeau in the lot.

Late Thursday evening, East Brunswick police confirmed to New Jersey 101.5 that Crotzer had called in the tip about a clean-shaven Nadeau being back at Autozone, but didn't elaborate further.

Around noon, East Brunswick announced all 11 of its district schools were sheltering in place, as a precautionary measure. South River public schools announced the same. Tapinto.net also reported Spotswood schools also took the same precautionary measure.


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