by John Boyd & Pilar Pedraza
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
10:44 AM EST, February 28, 2013
(SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan.)
Authorities arrest a man wanted in three counties for metal theft and burglaries. That comes after two car chases and, apparently, a canoe ride.
It's a normally quiet part of rural Sedgwick County, along the Ninnescah River. At least it was until an unexpected visitor dropped in Wednesday night.
"Out here we don't get a lot of activity like that," laughs Glen Mourning, who saw some of the chase Wednesday night.
Mourning counted 14 squad cars, lights flashing. They were chasing a suspected metal thief all the way from Kingman County. They used spike strips to puncture his tires. Then, he ran away.
"Across the road from us, they was in the yard and looking in buildings and everything," said Mourning about the search. "But, evidently they didn't find him."
Deputies think he stole a canoe and paddled away on the river. Eventually they gave up the search, until an early morning 911 call reporting a suspicious hitchhiker.
"The cop cars coming down this morning and stopped in Joe's yard over here," Mourning said, pointing to his friend's house across the street.
Deputies saw someone pulling out of the drive in a pick-up with windows that hadn't been scraped yet. The chase was on again.
"He really done a number on his pickup," Mourning said about the damage the chase did.
The tire tracks are still visible from when the truck swerved off the road into a field, where it eventually got stuck along the tree line.
Deputies chased the man across the field, but got stuck, too. A passerby in a 4-wheel drive truck saw what was going on and offered them a ride. They finally caught up with their suspect on the other side of the tree line and arrested him.
Deputies believe the 33-year-old suspect was involved in several burglaries and copper thefts in three counties. Investigators are interviewing him to see how much of a connection he has to those cases.