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Suspect treed by police after chase

A man suspected of stealing a Wal-Mart shopper’s purse Monday evening led local law enforcement officers on a high-speed pursuit through Bainbridge and Decatur County.

According to Bainbridge Public Safety, at about 8:30 p.m., the victim was placing groceries into her car outside the Wal-Mart on U.S. 27 South when a man ran toward her and grabbed her purse from her shopping cart. She stated she began yelling and running after the man.

A nearby witness, Kevin Tubbs, stated he heard the woman yelling and running after the thief so he began to pursue the man in his vehicle. Tubbs said he caught up with the car, blocking it in with his own vehicle behind the adjacent Home Depot store. He stated he told the suspect to return the woman’s purse, but the suspect drove over a steep embankment and out of sight.

BPS Cpl. Aaron Brown located the suspect on U.S. 27 South and began a pursuit. The suspect turned onto Woodhull Road and turned off the car’s headlights, at one point apparently wrecking before continuing on. The driver then turned onto Lake Douglas Road, sped up and began passing other vehicles—still without the car’s headlights. Minutes later, Brown reported that the car had lost its front left tire.

With only three tires and still without headlights, the driver began to make his way through a number of city streets including Scott, College, Pierce streets and several others.

Bainbridge citizens that witnessed the car traveling through town also provided police with information as to where the car had gone.

The suspect jumped out of the vehicle in the area of Pierce Street and Spring Creek Road and took off on foot.

BPS officers, Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies and Georgia State Patrol Troopers who were involved in the vehicle pursuit created a perimeter around the area and began to search for the suspect.

The suspect, identified as Mark Anthony Phillips, 34, of 2310 Spring Creek Road in Bainbridge, was located in a nearby tree.

Phillips was identified by both the robbery victim and Tubbs. A knife and $14 were found on Phillips’ person, according to BPS. The victims’ purse was located on Johnny Skipper Road, but the wallet was reported missing.

Phillips was arrested and charged with robbery, fleeing or attempting to elude, speeding, obstruction, reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, defective equipment, headlights required, failure to stop for stop sign, aggressive driving, seat belt violation, possession of a weapon during commission of a crime and failure to obey traffic control devices.

Phillips was arrested on similar traffic citations on Sept. 15, 2006, after Georgia state troopers observed him traveling at 114 miles per hour. Phillips wrecked into a tree behind Brogdon’s General Store in Brinson and fled on foot, leaving a passenger behind. State troopers later found him hiding in a wooded area approximately 300 yards from where he had wrecked.