8/30/2019 11:10:00 AM Stolen-vehicle manhunt results in arrest of two Dex keeps returning to Jones Street house, finds man under deck.
Robinson police officers prepare to enter a house on Lincoln Street Tuesday morning in search of a suspect who fled from police after abandoning a vehicle reported stolen from Lawrence County. No one was found in the home, but every precaution was taken.
Robinson Police Officer Jacob Leek leads Jamie Leighty, 44, Lawrenceville to a waiting patrol car and jail, after he was discovered hiding under the deck of a house in the 600 block of South Jones, Tuesday afternoon.
A report of a stolen vehicle from Lawrence County led local police on an all-day manhunt in Robinson.
According to Robinson Police Sergeant Dan Strauch, Lawrence County law enforcement issued a bulletin Tuesday on a gray Chevrolet Malibu and a licence plate number that was reported stolen.
At 9:09 a.m., a Robinson officer on patrol spotted the vehicle and turned around to stop it. When the vehicle stopped at of Jefferson and Ash, two suspects jumped out and fled in opposite directions.
The officer was able to catch the female suspect, identified as Laura Ann (Harris) Presson, 35, Bridgeport. She was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle and obstructing a police officer.
Through Presson they were able to identify the male suspect as Jamie A. Leighty, 44, Lawrenceville.
According to Strauch, a perimeter was established around the area where Leighty was believed to be hiding. Police dog Dex was brought in to track the suspect from the vehicle. After several attempts Dex was not able to get a positive track on the suspect.
One citizen did report seeing the suspect flee east towards Lincoln, and believed he entered the front door of house in the 900 block of South Lincoln. Police officers knocked on the door but received no response.
As more officers arrived from Robinson police, Crawford County Sheriff's Department, Crawford County Auxiliary and Palestine Police Department, Robinson Police Chief Chad Weaver directed the perimeter be maintained in the 900 blocks of Lincoln and Myers, while other locations and tips provided by local citizens were investigated by city police.
Meanwhile, Lincoln Elementary School was placed on a soft lockdown and a resource officer was available to the school. A reverse 911 call also went out to that area notifying residents of the situation.
Around 11:30 a.m., Weaver and officers decided to enter the house the suspect reportedly had entered. A search by officers and Dex did not turn up anyone in the house. Police also entered a second residence, by the owners' consent, after he reported his back door was standing open. There was no evidence of anyone in that house, either.
According to Strauch, a report was later received that the suspect was seen crossing Jackson headed toward Marathon. The refinery was notified and Stewart Security was placed on alert.
Dex was redeployed in the area, but according to Strauch he continued to return to a residence in the 600 block of South Jones. As it was nearing time to dismiss school, Weaver halted operations until school had dismissed and the buses had cleared the area before searching the area around the residence.
At 2:59 p.m., Leighty was discovered hiding under an overgrown deck in the back of a house in the 600 block of South Jones and surrendered without incident.
Strauch credits the success of the operation on Weaver, his planning and command strategy of a visible perimeter and systematic search pattern.
Leighty is being charged with obstructing a police officer, unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle, driving while suspended and fleeing and eluding.
He and Presson are both in Crawford County Jail awaiting bond to be set. Additional charges are expected from Lawrence County.