ANDERSON — A man accused of stealing a truck to escape the state was extradited to Indiana by Florida authorities, processed in the Madison County Jail and released on bail on Tuesday.
Michael J. Evans, 33, of Anderson, faces charges of burglary, auto theft and theft on allegations of stealing several items from an employer, including a truck, around New Year's. After allegedly taking the items and using the vehicle to drive to Indianapolis International Airport, Evans took a flight to Tampa, Fla., where he spent four months. He was transported back to Indiana on Monday.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the incident started the night of Dec. 31, when the owner of a tree service who employed Evans returned to his home on Crystal Street and found his 1999 white GMC 2500 truck was missing, along with some tree-trimming equipment.
The man immediately suspected Evans, even though he had never let Evans use the truck before because he didn't have a valid driver's license. Several witnesses told the man they saw Evans driving the truck around town. Evans' mother told the man she had seen him with the truck earlier in the day.
According to the affidavit, Evans and the victim exchanged text messages, in which Evans claimed he needed the truck for transportation to a bus station, where he would be headed to Texas to "get away from drugs." Evans sent a text to the man, "If I didn't leave, something bad was going to happen."
Detectives discovered Evans had pawned one of the employer's chainsaws at an EZ Pawn in Anderson, and later found Evans had taken the truck to the airport in Indianapolis, where he took a flight to Tampa. The affidavit indicates Evans had a family member in Florida.
The warrant for Evans was issued in January, and he was taken into custody by Florida authorities on April 25. After being processed in the Madison County Jail on Monday, he was released on $10,000 bail Tuesday afternoon.
According to court records, Evans has had several run-ins with authorities in the past and has a felony conviction. In 2005, he pleaded guilty to two charges of theft and received an 18-month prison sentence. He was also found to be in violation of probation in 2007 and had 16 additional months added to his sentence.
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