Haybale-laden truck thief eludes law enforcement



July 28, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Authorities remained on the lookout Friday for a suspect they said stole a pickup and led officers on a high-speed chase that roared through Iola and wound up in rural Bourbon County Thursday afternoon.

Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy said the incident started when John Kramer — who had been out working in the field — saw his pickup, loaded with a hay bale, being driven away from near the intersection of South Carolina Road and 400 Street.

He alerted authorities who raced to the area, and spotted the vehicle, “and the chase was on,” Murphy said.

The thief led deputies back into Iola, where they zipped along State Street before cutting back east into the county along South Carolina Road.

Complicating matters, Murphy said, was when Kramer notified officers that the pickup had a loaded firearm in the cab.

With the suspect approaching speeds of 90 mph on the gravel roads, officers pursued from a distance, Murphy said.

Shane Smith, Moran Police Chief, greeted the stolen vehicle at the intersection of South Carolina and U.S. 59. He laid out spike strips in an attempt to disable the vehicle. The effort was partially successful. At least one of the tires immediately went flat, “but it didn’t slow him down much,” Murphy said.

The suspect headed south on the highway before cutting back to the east on North Dakota Road, where he eventually made it into Bourbon County.

The chase eventually ended after the suspect reached a dead-end road, but continued driving through a fence, into a field and eventually into a creek.

“The creek wasn’t that deep but the embankment was,” Murphy said.

From there, the suspect fled on food.

Deputies scoured the area for more than an hour before giving up for the day.

The truck was recovered, as was the handgun.

Murphy is asking anybody with information regarding the incident to call the Sheriff’s Department at 365-1400, or contact Allen County Crime Stoppers.