FAIRFIELD — Police arrested three members of a New Haven gang they say have been involved in the rash of car thefts in Fairfield and in other communities.

The early morning arrest Monday came about after an officer on patrol spotted a car parked on Pease Avenue around 2 a.m. The stolen car was running and there were several people inside.

“They are suspected in a rash of car thefts and other criminal activity,” Lt. Robert Kalamaras said. He said they are known to carry guns, but added no guns have been found at this time.

The officer on patrol Monday called in the marker number of the parked Honda, then got out and approached the car. When he did, the driver and passengers got out and ran from the scene. Police dogs from Fairfield, Norwalk and the State Police joined in the search.

Police grabbed James Harris, 18, when he tripped and fell after running into some nearby woods. They said Harris, and the others, are members of the Starr Block gang out of New Haven.

Harris told police he was just a passenger in the car and did not know who the others were. Another of the car’s occupants, a 16-year-old, was located hiding in some bushes.

Another 16-year-old was tracked by Fairfield K-9 Maverick and found hiding under a car at Fairfield Automotive. He was curled up in a ball underneath the car and refused to come out or show his hands until the police dog bit him on the thigh. He was taken to St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport for evaluation of the small puncture wound.

All three were charged with third-degree larceny and interfering with an officer. The Honda they had been driving was stolen out of Berlin. Inside there were several credit cards that did not belong to them.

A fourth suspect, a 17-year-old, was found hours later when police received a call about a suspicious person in front of the Andros Diner on the Post Road. Police said the teen approached someone outside of the diner and claimed to have been kidnapped and dropped off there.

Police, however, said he was one of the stolen car’s occupants and will be seeking a warrant for his arrest.

Harris was held on a $20,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Bridgeport Jan. 30. The juveniles were turned over to their parents and will have to appear in Juvenile Court Jan. 23.

Since November, police here have received reports of 15 stolen cars in Fairfield and numerous car break-ins. The majority of the thefts involved cars that were unlocked, with the keys inside.

greilly@ctpost.com; @GreillyPost