HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Authorities from multiple agencies searched several hours Wednesday in Orange County for two men they believe may have been “casing the area or engaging in criminal activity,” a news release said.
Orange County deputies responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle around 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. A person arrived home off Ferguson Road to find an unoccupied burgundy Chrysler 300 in the road in front of his house. He called 911 after a man ran up to the car, jumped in, and started driving down the road while blowing his horn, the release said.
The driver drove away and didn’t stop for lights and siren when deputies tried to stop him. He turned onto a dead-end road, and then into a private driveway, before jumping from the vehicle and running into the woods, the sheriff’s office said.
Deputies and three K-9 teams, including one from Carrboro police, tracked the man through the woods. While doing so, 911 callers reported seeing the man running through their yards. One caller reported him carrying a handgun.
Another caller reported seeing a different man without a shirt on running through a cow pasture, the release said.
Maj. Kevin Jones with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said the driver was blowing his horn early on as a signal to the man later seen running shirtless through the pasture.
“No one has reported any break-ins in the area as of yet, but based on our training and experience, we consider it possible the men were casing the area or engaging in criminal activity,” Jones said in the release.
Deputies canceled the search after several hours. Soon after, the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a suspicious person knocking on the door of a residence off Jones Ferry Road. The man wasn’t wearing a shirt, the release said.
The man was taken to the UNC Hospital Emergency Department. Authorities said they believe he was the man seen running through the cow pasture. Upon further investigation, they also believe they know the identity of the driver. They have reason to believe he is no longer in the area, the release said.
“Today’s events illustrate why it is always a good idea for people to lock their homes and vehicles. We appreciate that residents were alert to unusual activity near their homes and immediately called 911,” Jones said. “We are also thankful for the assistance of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office and the Carrboro Police Department.”
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