Archive for Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Credit union robbed; suspect eludes officers

February 2, 2000

A high-speed chase Tuesday afternoon along narrow county roads between Lansing and Tonganoxie concluded with a suspect getting away and a Tonganoxie police car temporarily stuck in snow.

According to Mike Vestal, Tonganoxie police dispatcher, the suspect escaped the cul-de-sac near First and Green streets by driving across the grass between houses. He then crossed Second Street and headed south on Shawnee Street past Tonganoxie Elementary School.

At press time Tuesday night, that was the last confirmed sighting of him.

The incident began about 2 p.m. Tuesday when a man robbed Wadsworth Credit Union, 397 First St., Lansing.

Sgt. John Kirby of the Leavenworth County Sheriffs Department, said the chase began about 2:15 p.m.

"We don't know where he went first," Kirby said. "The place where we first encountered him was west of there at County Road 5. And then when he saw the deputy then he made a high-speed getaway out of there."

Traveling at speeds that Kirby said were greater than 100 mph, the suspect cut across to County Road 29.

"It's good and straight there in some places," Kirby said.

From there, he reconnected with County Road 5 and headed south toward Tonganoxie.

Tonganoxie police chief Kenny Carpenter, whose first day on the job was Tuesday, said Tonganoxie police officer John Putthoff began chasing the suspect's vehicle at the city limits, where Laming Road intersects with County Road 5.

Mark Williams, Tonganoxie police officer, said that from there, the suspect crossed First Street and headed west, traveling about 80 mph before entering the cul-de-sac. The suspect cut through yards to elude Putthoff, whose vehicle temporarily was stuck in snow.

For about an hour after that, sheriff's officers, Tonganoxie police officers and the Kansas Highway Patrol looked for the suspect in Tonganoxie and on the perimeters of town.

"They double-checked the area, just wanting to make sure that the suspect didn't come into town and try to switch cars," Williams said.

Shortly after 3 p.m., a helicopter from Kansas Highway Patrol in Topeka scoured the area.

The suspect was driving a dark blue or black Eagle Talon with a Missouri license plate. Witnesses described him as a Caucasian with Hispanic features whose head is bald or shaved, Kirby said.

Williams said it appeared the suspect was alone.

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