Van found; suspects still on the loose

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 7, 2000

LAWRENCE COUNTY — Law enforcement officers were able to recovera stolen van Wednesday, but their search for the thieves came upempty.

Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy Willie Wallace said theincident began at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Duncan’s Corner, a storeon the outskirts of Monticello.

“The delivery man for Corr Williams Tobacco Company stoppedthere to bring his order for the week,” said Wallace.

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While the delivery man was inside, one or two individualsallegedly got into the van and drove away. Once the delivery manrealized the van was gone, he reported it to the sheriff’sdepartment.

A sheriff’s deputy in the vicinity spotted the van withinminutes of the theft. He pursued the van along Highway 587, thendown a camp road that led to the Pearl River. The driver of thethree-quarter ton van was trying to lose the officer any waypossible, said Wallace.

“He went out through a 40-acre field, ran over some fences, thenwent into a ravine and hit an oak tree,” said Wallace. “He fled onfoot into the woods, and we recovered the van and approximately$50,000 worth of tobacco products.”

A search for the individuals responsible began immediately,involving officers from Mississippi Highway Patrol, MonticelloPolice Department, Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheriesand Jefferson Davis Sheriff’s Department.

Specially-trained dogs were used to assist officers in trackingthe thieves, but they lost the scent near a creek in the area.After hours with no luck, officers called off the search.

Officials are hoping someone will come forward with informationabout the theft of the van or the whereabouts of the suspects.Officials urge anybody with information to call the sheriff’sdepartment at 587-2961.