The Herald Bulletin

October 23, 2013

Suspected shoplifter caught after four-hour manhunt

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

MARKLEVILLE, Ind. — A man who led police on a car chase and manhunt Wednesday was wanted on a charge of theft in Hamilton County and was out on bail on a Madison County theft charge.

Jerry E. Johnson, 46, of Alexandria, was arrested about 3 p.m. at a Marathon gas station near South County Road 200 East and U.S. 36 after leading investigators from south Anderson through rural Madison County for nearly five hours.

According to press releases from the Madison County Sheriff's Department, a man saw the suspect acting suspiciously near the Anderson Menards and Meijer off South Scatterfield Road about 10 a.m. The man contacted police and followed the suspect by vehicle east toward South County Road 300 East.

Once they reached 300 East, the suspect's vehicle, a 1998 Dodge Ram turned south, hit a mailbox and caused yard damage at several residences. Police spotted the suspect farther down the road driving south toward U.S. 36. A chase ensued.

Near U.S. 36, the man left his car and ran into a cornfield. Investigators from the sheriff's department, Indiana State Police and Markleville searched the area with police dogs for about four hours.

According to the release, Johnson reached a home in the area of county roads 640 South and 300 East and asked the homeowner for a ride to the gas station. The homeowner dropped him off at the Marathon and later reported the incident to police. Officers arrived and arrested Johnson.

Others assisting in the chase included Henry County deputies, Union and Adams townships fire departments and the Indiana State Department of Natural Resources.

Detectives believe Johnson stole something from Meijer, and the incident was under investigation Wednesday. Johnson is also charged with leaving the scene of a property-damage accident.

Johnson has a history of theft-related arrests and convictions. In 2009, he was convicted on charges of theft and receiving stolen property for incidents in 2002. He was released from prison on July 3 this year and was arrested on charges of theft, criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement just eight days later.

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