MOULTRIE, Ga. — The suspect in a police chase that ended in Thomasville Thursday has been charged in connection with two separate incidents of shoplifting, both of them misdemeanors.
Roderick Leon Wilkins, 35, of Tallahassee, Fla., was charged with fleeing and attempting to elude and driving without a license, both felonies, along with two misdemeanor counts of theft by shoplifting.
On Tuesday, Aug. 6, the loss prevention officer at Walmart called police about a shoplifting. He said a man entered the store that morning, talking on his cell phone. He grabbed a shopping cart and went to the back of the store where the televisions are located. The loss prevention officer said the man put a television into the cart, walked around the store then walked out without paying for the television.
The man acted like he was talking on his cell phone the whole time, police said.
He got into an unknown vehicle and left.
Police later identified the man as Wilkins, according to the incident report.
Two days later, a Moultrie police officer responded to another shoplifting report at Walmart. He’d been given a description of the car the shoplifting suspect was in, a gold 2001 Honda Accord, and he saw a car that matched that description leaving the parking lot as he arrived.
The officer stopped the Accord, and the driver got out and asked what he had done.
The officer told him to get back in the car, and he did. Then he drove off.
The officer got back behind him with his blue lights still on, the incident report said, but the driver did not pull over.
“He continued traveling south on Veterans Parkway and continued to speed up in order to get away from me,” the officer wrote in his report. “I was traveling 67 mph and he continued to get further away.”
The officer was told by his supervisor to stop the pursuit, but as he slowed down and cut his blue lights off, a Colquitt County sheriff’s deputy with lights and sirens took over the chase. The supervisor countermanded himself and told the city officer to resume the pursuit, the report said.
“We continued chasing him in speeds excess of 100 mph into Thomas County,” the officer reported. “Thomas County (deputies) and GSP (troopers) were notified of our location and they were waiting us as we approached Thomasville.”
The Moultrie police officer slowed down so the state patrol trooper could take over the pursuit. Before the chase reached Thomasville, the GSP tried to force the suspect vehicle to crash but was not successful.
Once the chase entered Thomasville, the GSP again tried the PIT maneuver to make the vehicle wreck, and this time it was successful. The car came to rest off the road near the intersection of Highways 319 and 19, and the driver jumped out and tried to run.
A deputy deployed his Taser, and he and the troopers subdued the suspect, according to the MPD report.