Shoplifting suspect leads police in car chase

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Man drives through Almetta Street yard, damages home, swimming pool

By Chris Sardelli

Police are searching for a man who led them on a high-speed chase through a busy intersection and later damaged a Lancaster home Friday, July 25. 

The chase started just after officers responded to Dollar General, 1002 N. Main St., about 12:33 p.m. for a shoplifting in progress, according to a Lancaster Police Department incident report. 

Officers were about to go inside the store when a dispatcher informed them the shoplifting suspect was getting into a black Honda Accord.

They found the man and tried to stop the car, though the driver sped in reverse, squealed his tires and drove into the Carriage Inn parking lot, the report said. 

The officers then watched as the driver sped across North Main Street, almost causing an accident. 

Chasing after the man with their blue lights flashing, officers followed the driver as he turned north onto Monroe Highway (S.C. 200) and then onto S.C. 9 Bypass. There, the driver encountered a red traffic light at the intersection of the bypass and Clinton Avenue. 

“The driver drove around all of the vehicles and turned onto Clinton Avenue,” an officer wrote in the report. 

After speeding through the intersection, the car turned west onto Almetta Street, where the officers lost sight of it. 

Police then went back to Dollar General and spoke with an employee who noticed the man take a shirt, hat and deodorant, with a combined estimated value of $25, the report said.

A witness later told officers she knows the man and saw him and his car at the store before the shoplifting, the report said. She told officers the car actually belongs to the man’s girlfriend.

The officers then went back to the scene at Clinton Avenue and Almetta Street, where they found tire tracks in the grass at the intersection. While inspecting the tracks, officers spoke with a nearby resident who said he saw the car drive behind a home in the 200 block of Almetta Street. Officers then followed the car tracks.

“It appeared that the driver took the turn onto Almetta St. too wide. He then went into the grass and hit a small culvert. The driver then ran over an above ground pool. After striking the pool, then (the) driver drove between a basketball goal and a house,” an officer wrote. 

The officers noticed the basketball goal base was damaged and there were black marks and brick damage to the house. The tire tracks then led to the back of the house.

The homeowner told officers the damage to the pool, basketball goal and house is estimated at $1,800, the report said. 

Police planned on charging the man with shoplifting, failure to stop for blue lights and sirens and hit and run with property damage, the report said. 

The car is described as a late 1990s or early 2000s model, black Honda Accord, with tinted windows and no hub caps. 

It was unknown Thursday, July 31, if anyone has been identified or arrested in connection with the case. 

If you know anything about the incident, please call the Lancaster Police Department at (803) 283-1171, (803) 283-3313, or the LPD’s anonymous tip hotline at (803) 289-6040.


Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416