Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.
A Chicago area man who eluded police for 16 hours after allegedly trying to pull a scam to buy a $100,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee from a North Huntingdon dealership Monday was caught early Tuesday in a wooded area near the Route 30 store.
Michael Wayne Decker, 31, of Vernon Hills, Ill., is charged by North Huntingdon police with theft and identity theft for allegedly attempting to defraud the Jim Shorkey Chrysler Jeep dealership while trying to buy a Grand Cherokee Track Hawk. Police said they used Decker’s fingerprints to confirm his identity.
Decker is suspected of attempting similar types of scams and thefts of high-end vehicles from other dealerships in in Western Pennsylvania, Chief Robert Rizzo said.
Police were notified of the scam Monday after the Shorkey dealership ran a credit check and allegedly was presented with false identification. The suspect left the dealership on the premises of making a phone call, then ran into nearby woods.
Police searched for the suspect into Monday night and then received calls from residents early Tuesday morning who believed they spotted the man along Soltis Lane. A state police helicopter was deployed Tuesday morning and he was seen hiding in thick brush. A North Huntingdon officer used a Taser and took Decker into custody, Rizzo stated.
The charges were filed before North Huntingdon District Judge Wayne Gongaware. Decker’s arraignment was postponed while police took the suspect for treatment Tuesday at Allegheny Health Network Forbes Hospital in Monroeville for injuries he may have sustained while eluding police overnight, Rizzo said.
North Huntingdon police were assisted by police from Irwin, Penn Township, Jeannette, Murrysville, North Versailles, Manor, Trafford and state police, as well as North Huntingdon Rescue 8 EMS, and firefighters from Hartford Heights and Circleville.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @byrenatta.
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