While working at his family’s restaurant, Habesha, Yosef Tesfaye looked up on the afternoon of April 28 to find Michael Cunha, 42, of Somerville, fleeing from police after allegedly stealing an Amazon van loaded with packages.
According to Malden Police, Cunha gained access to the open vehicle at the intersection of Bickford Road and Main Street. After driving “several blocks,” police said, Cunha got out of the van and fled on foot. That was when he encountered Tesfaye, who knew that Cunha was not in the neighborhood to enjoy the restaurant’s Ethiopian cuisine. After learning from the Amazon driver that Cunha had stolen the vehicle, Tesfaye pursued Cunha himself and tackled him to the ground.
Although Cunha was able to get away from Tesfaye, police, with assistance from K9 Mattis, located him 40 minutes later and took him into custody. No injuries were reported.
Cunha was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation before appearing in Medford District Court on April 29.
Although Cunha pleaded not guilty, prosecutors maintained that he was carrying a knife and an air pistol when he stole the Amazon vehicle. Cunha is being held on $5,000 cash bail and has been charged with carjacking. Under state law, if convicted, Cunha could face up to 15 years in prison.