A North Carolina man sneaked past Family Dollar cashiers with his pants full of merchandise, then led officers on a high-speed chase through Clover on Thursday, police say.
Jerry Lee Dickey, 40, of Gastonia, N.C., is accused of stealing more than $100 worth of items from the dollar store before driving off at speeds reaching 100 mph during the chase, according to a Clover Police report. Police say Dickey dodged police for a half-hour, crossing state lines before being arrested in Gaston County.
Dickey was arrested and charged with possession of stolen property, failure to appear and fugitive from another state, according to booking information on the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office website. His bond in Gastonia is $12,500.
Dickey faces additional charges in Clover, including failure to yield for blue lights and shoplifting, authorities say.
Dickey is accused of shoplifting from the Family Dollar on Clover’s Main Street on Thursday morning, police say. The suspect was wearing two pairs of pants and had the ankles of the inner pants tied down with panty hose to prevent items from falling out.
A Clover Police officer was told the suspect was seen driving a green 2000 Dodge Neon sedan north on U.S. 321. When the officer approached a Dodge matching the description, he activated his lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the car. But the suspect accelerated, reaching speeds of 100 mph “in an attempt to evade police,” the report states.
Police say Dickey swerved in and out of lanes, seemingly taunting the officer. As more cars appeared at the state line, the Clover officer discontinued his pursuit.
It is an “intense experience” for the officer pursuing a suspect at high speeds, Lt. Tanner Davis of the Clover Police Department said Friday.
“When an officer is in a car, he’s trying to take in as much information while keeping other officers informed,”, Davis said. The officer must remember the perpetrator’s charges, get a license plate number, be wary of other civilians and keep communicating with his supervisor, David said.
At 100 mph, the risk outweighs the reward, Davis said.
“If it’s becoming too dangerous, he must make the right decision,” Davis said. In this case, he said, the right decision was to abandon the chase at the state line after obtaining the license plate number and getting a look at the suspect.
The name of the officer involved in the chase was not released by Clover Police on Friday. Police did release the dashcam video of the chase.
Davis and a Clover Police captain drove to Gastonia in an unmarked car to try to locate the suspect’s vehicle. Gastonia Police were called to assist.
Police found the suspect pulling out of a driveway on York Road. The suspect began to drive “erratically,’ police say, as if to evade the officers.
Dickey was found standing outside of his vehicle on Gilmer Street in Gastonia. Police found several packages of clothing still in plastic packages on the back seat of Dickey’s car.
Clover officials say Dickey has criminal record dating to the 1990s. Herald news partner WSOC-TV reported that Dickey was convicted in 1992 for second-degree murder and served five years of a 15-year sentence.