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Washington County authorities describe what led up to manhunt

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 9:21 PM EST
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - New details have been released about the chase and manhunt that led to a McConnelsville man’s arrest on Wednesday.

A news release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says deputies had already been investigating a string of burglaries and break-ins around rural Washington County communities when on December 2nd, Decker Drilling in Vincent reported a truck had been stolen. Deputies were told the stolen truck had a GPS tracker that was giving off a location in Beverly.

Investigators tracked the truck down to somewhere near Third Street in Beverly, where they tried to identify suspects through surveillance. After gathering evidence and requesting a search warrant, authorities hit a speed bump.

A suspect was seen leaving in the stolen truck while deputies were still preparing to execute their search warrant.

The news release says officers “tried to box the vehicle in,” but the driver was able to get out and a pursuit was initiated.

The suspect struck a sheriff’s patrol vehicle during the chase and was driving in such a way that the stolen truck’s tire shredded and hit pursuing cars.

Officials say speeds reached more than 70 mph while the chase continued out State Route 60.

At one point, the suspect crossed into oncoming traffic, nearly hitting another vehicle head on as it came from the south. That’s when the suspect overcorrected and launched himself off of the road, across a ditch and into a field in the 20,000 block of 60.

From there, authorities say he fled on foot.

Meanwhile, deputies in Beverly were able to execute their search warrant. During their search, they figured out that their suspect was 39 year-old Robert Wells.

The rest is history. Wells was arrested after a three hour manhunt that involved dogs, a drone and even a helicopter.

Wells is charged with receiving stolen property and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer. He was already on parole, so authorities say he will also be charged with a parole violation.

He’s in the Washington County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

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