A Hudson Valley man is accused of stealing a front-end loader and driving it in a supermarket's parking lot and around town drunk.

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Just after midnight on Wednesday, Town of Wallkill police officers responded to a report of a drunk man operating a front-end loader in the parking lot of the Hannaford Supermarket on Tower Drive in Middletown.

The caller reported that the vehicle damaged a concrete curb in the parking lot before driving away. Shortly after the report, an officer observed the front-end loader in the vicinity of East Galleria Drive and Ballard Road and attempted to stop the vehicle.

The driver failed to stop and continued to drive the vehicle on Ballard Road until he entered the parking lot of 95 Crystal Run Road where he struck two concrete curbs and a retaining wall, police say.

During the pursuit, the front-end loader's bucket dragged along the ground, significantly slowing down the speed of the vehicle. After some time, the driver lost control of the front end loader and drove off the parking lot roadway, officials say.

Paul M. Pepe, 42, of the Town of Wallkill was charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, unauthorized use of a vehicle, reckless endangerment of property, criminal mischief, DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation.

Pepe was released with an appearance ticket.

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