An 18-year-old Ware County man was arrested early Saturday on multiple theft and burglary charges after leading a deputy on a chase from the west side of Waycross and then ditching the stolen vehicle, said Ware County Sheriff Randy Royal.
Hunter Andrew Willis, 18, of the 2300 block of Eastover Drive, Waycross, was arrested and booked into the Ware County jail on one charge of first degree residential burglary, five counts of commercial burglary, three counts of vehicle theft, two counts of misdemeanor theft, one count of theft of a firearm, fleeing and attempting to elude police and several traffic violations, said Royal.
“We have had a string of burglaries and vehicle thefts in recent weeks,” said Royal. “We were conducting surveillance in the 500 block of McDonald Road where several of these have taken place just after midnight Saturday morning when Cpl. Tony Yeomans saw a vehicle fitting the description of the last one that was reported stolen, a 2015 Nissan Frontier. We had suspected he would strike again.”
Yeomans tried to stop the vehicle but the driver sped off, throwing items out the window as he was chased, said Royal.
“He ditched the truck in the area of Burke Street, jumped out and fled on foot,” said Royal. “A Ware State Prison K-9 was brought in and Willis was quickly taken into custody after being found hiding in a house on Burke Street.”
Royal said Ware detectives have been working on these thefts and burglaries at a business in 500 block McDonald Road where the Frontier was stolen, along with other vehicles and other items.
Another burglary was reported just prior to his capture in the 3200 block of Manor-Millwood Road and another in the 1400 block of Millwood Road. Royal said when he was stopped, several musical instruments from a Manor church were found in the truck and no one even knew about that burglary because it occurred Friday night.
“As a result of the evidence recovered from inside the vehicle he will also be charged with burglary in 3200 block Manor-Millwood Road,” said Royal. “A gun was thrown out that was linked to a Windmill Road burglary and additional property that he had taken. We found forced entry at the house on Windmill Road where he entered. He will also be charged with that.”
Detective Clay Carter was the primary investigator in the case. Willis was expected to appear before a magistrate this morning.
“Additional charges may be forthcoming on Willis,” said Royal. “And Clinch County has placed a hold on him for a church burglary in that county.”