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Home  |  News  |  Burglary chase leads to gator hunting suspect

Burglary chase leads to gator hunting suspect
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ORANGEBURG, SC - Sometimes police investigations can get downright confusing.

Two men, one burglary and an alligator were the ingredients that made for a rather confusing Sunday afternoon for local law enforcement officers.

The result was the arrest of Michael Hartwell, 20, of 108 Representative Circle in Orangeburg on charges of first-degree burglary and illegal use of 911.

During the search for the burglary suspect, police stumbled across a dead alligator. A Myrtle Beach man was charged with illegal possession of an alligator in an incident unrelated to the burglary.

It all began when deputies were sent to a woman's Parr Street home around 2 p.m. She said someone had broken into her residence and was still there.

Looking through a window, deputies saw a man inside the house. When the officers entered the residence, the man took off running down Parr Street toward Armstrong Terrace. The deputies pursued him. When he ducked behind a house on Armstrong Terrace, the officers lost sight of him.

After a few minutes, a deputy spotted the man again in some bushes behind a residence. The man took off again, pushing the deputy to the ground.

At that point, Orangeburg Department of Public Safety and South Carolina State University police officers arrived and began setting up a perimeter. The K-9 team was called in as well.

The officers searched for a while before they spotted a man running away on Hadley Street and took off after him.

Around that same time, 911 dispatchers received word the man they were searching for was on Kings Road. Then a call came in of a shoot-out on Jamison Avenue. A man called saying he was innocent and was leaving the state.

Investigators listened to the tapes of the calls. They determined the man they were chasing was calling in fake 911 calls.

The officers went back to the area that had been cordoned off and began closing in on the burglary suspect.

In the meantime, the officers back on Hadley Street continued their chase as well. They caught their subject in a brushy area and arrested him for allegedly attempting to hide a dead alligator. That part of the Sunday afternoon adventure was turned over to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

A DNR spokesman said the alligator was shot in the head and harvested out of season, which carries a maximum fine of $2,500, not including court costs of 107 percent.

Investigators concluded the two subjects were not working together nor were they apparently aware each other's presence in the area.

Source: http://www.thetandd.com/news/local/article_f0622eb8-9639-11e0-ad88-001cc4c002e0.html

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