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Authorities Investigate Runaway, Truck Theft

The connection between a runaway youth and the theft of a truck in Vidalia last week is still underdetermined. The two incidents occurred within close proximity to one another and within the same approximate time frame, but as of yet there is no definitive evidence to link them, local authorities said. Meanwhile, investigations continue the search for the 16-yearold boy who was reported missing from a Vidalia group home on April 13.

“At this time, we do not have the evidence to connect the juvenile to the theft of the truck,” said Captain Jordan Kight with the Toombs County Sheriff’s Department. “He is being sought as a missing juvenile.” continued from page

Kight said authorities were able to get in touch with the teenager’s father in Atlanta to make him aware of his son’s disappearance, and the father is cooperating with authorities.

Local law enforcement was dispatched shortly after midnight on April 13 to Mel Blount Youth Home at 582 Mel Blount Road in Vidalia in reference to a runaway juvenile. A search of the area was unproductive and a Be on the Lookout alert (BOLO) was issued for the missing youth.

At 6:03 a.m. on April 13, authorities were dispatched to 507 T. H. Tippet Road regarding a stolen vehicle. Complainant Richard Sellers told police someone had come onto his property and stolen his 2005 model crew cab truck. He told police the theft occurred between 11:30 p.m. on April 12 and 6 a.m. on April 13. He said the truck was unlocked and the keys were in the ignition.

The Sheriff’s Office issued a BOLO on the truck, and the vehicle was entered into Georgia Crime Information Center as stolen. At 8 p.m., April 13 local authorities learned the vehicle had been involved in a chase with the Georgia State Patrol (GSP) in Bibb County, had wrecked and was impounded.

According to a report by a Macon television station, a trooper from the GSP’s Hinesville Post was on I-16W and heading to Atlanta for training when he saw a pickup truck that wasn’t staying in its lane.

Reportedly, when the trooper tried to pull the driver over, the driver did not stop and the trooper followed the truck onto I75N, where he performed a PIT maneuver near the Arkwright Road exit in Bibb County.

The pickup truck flipped onto the right shoulder of the road, and the driver ran off. GSP later learned that the truck had been stolen hours before in Vidalia.

“The trooper could not detain or identify the suspect and residue from the airbags made it impossible to process the vehicle for fingerprints. And we don’t have any eyewitnesses to the theft of the truck,” Kight said.

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