Suspects caught after chase Tuesday

Published 8:02 pm Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a suspect in an alleged copper wiring theft after pursuing a truck several miles into Florida on Tuesday afternoon.

At about 12:40 p.m., several deputies began searching for a pickup truck towing a trailer after someone called 911 to report its occupants was possibly involved with a copper theft off Georgia Highway 262 south of Climax in eastern Decatur County.

At 12:48 p.m., Sgt. Michael Logue, who had crossed over into Grady County to search for the suspect’s vehicle, passed it on Georgia Highway 111 near the small community of Calvary, located about 3.5 miles north of the Georgia/Florida border.

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Sgt. Logue, who told Decatur-Grady E-911 dispatchers he had observed the truck partially run off the road after the driver spotted his patrol car, quickly turned around and began pursuing it.

Logue, now being assisted by Sgt. Patrick Trolinger, continued following the truck into Florida on U.S. 27 South, which intersects with Georgia 111 at the border between the two states. A Florida Highway Patrol officer then took over as the lead car in the pursuit.

Due to the Sheriff’s Office receiving information that were two children in the car, and the fact that the pursuit was headed toward Havana at midday, deputies were told to stop following the suspects out of concern for safety, said Major Wendell Cofer of the Sheriff’s Office. However, the FHP officer continued their pursuit, with the Decatur County deputies following behind at a safe distance.

Just before 1 p.m., Logue relayed to E-911 dispatchers that the truck had been stopped at the Harvey’s grocery store in Havana, Fla. Two men, including the driver, were taken into custody and charged with multiple traffic offenses, while deputies continue to investigate “a series of thefts,” Major Cofer said.

Metal thefts on rise again?

The Sheriff’s Office and Bainbridge Public Safety has received several reports of thieves stealing copper wiring. Criminals strip copper and other metals from houses, air-conditioners and other sources to illegally recycle them for cash.

This past Saturday, a resident of Ward Road near Attapulgus reported some aluminum windows were stolen from her yard.

Last Friday, a resident of Day Drive off U.S. 84 West reported someone had stolen a chain saw from his shop and a 1,000-foot roll of copper wire from inside a semi-trailer being used for storage.

Also on March 26, a resident of Columbia Street in Bainbridge reported someone had climbed over a wooden fence into a yard, dismantled an air-conditioning unit and taken all of its copper and aluminum parts.

Two other copper wiring thefts were reported earlier in March, on the 2000 block of Butler Ferry Road and on Alabama Street, respectively.