Former Bainbridge Officer and father arrested again for theft - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Former Bainbridge Officer and father arrested again for theft

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October 9, 2006

Decatur County-  A former Bainbridge Public Safety Officer fired several years ago after committing a robbery while on duty is once again caught stealing.  The Sheriff's office believes a father and son duo have been stealing lawn and yard equipment from four Georgia counties.  Investigators say a Florida woman caught the thieves red-handed and followed them back to Georgia.

A stolen blue trucks sits in the impound lot after a weekend chase. Investigators say former Bainbridge Public Safety officer Mark Smith and his father Alex used it for a weekend robbery in Gadsden County, Florida, but the 60 year old victim caught them in the act and wasn't about to let them get away.

"She chased them for approximately 15 miles, she would not let up she stayed with them and finally I reckon they assumed she had a cell phone and if they stayed in that vehicle they were going to get caught," said Sheriff Wiley Griffin, Decatur County.

The two abandoned the truck here on Drane Smith Road, and ran into the woods, while the woman waited for deputies.

"We got helicopters in the air and we had dog teams from ACI, from Apalachicola Correctional Institute and also our drug dog and tracking dog," said Griffin. 

In the woods the two met hunter Bobby Estes, who gave them a ride to this point on Viola Farm Road, he put them out, the two ran across the street to Raymond Miller's mother's house, Miller gave them a ride to town.

"We had Bainbridge Public Safety and one of our Deputy Sheriff's George Jenkins converge on the vehicle on Crawford Road and stop that truck," said Griffin. 

The two were arrested 500 feet from Smith's wife's house. The Sheriff's office is asking you to take a good look at their pictures.

"If you've purchased any kind of grills you pull behind your vehicles or trailers or any type of merchandise that's been stolen and you recognize these people and perhaps you may have even bought from these individuals please let us know," said Griffin. 

The critical help from citizens this weekend helped law enforcement get the Smith's off the streets, now they hope those who bought stolen merchandise in Early, Decatur, Miller and Grady Counties will come forward adding to their case.

Mark Smith had a warrant for his arrest for parole violations. The two face charges for theft in Florida and for bringing stolen items across state lines.

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