Chatham County officers arrest entering auto suspect in marsh

Crime & Safety

Left: Officer Derick Canales, Lt. Gene Harley and Officer Richard Michalowicz lead suspect James Walker out of the marsh after his arrest. (Chatham County Police Department)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A man accused of stealing handguns and cash from vehicles on Dutch Island is now in custody after almost two hours of searching through the woods and marsh, according to police.

The Chatham County Police Department (CCPD) was dispatched to a home on Herb River Drive Tuesday morning after a resident reportedly saw someone attempting to enter his vehicle.

Officers arrived in the area to search for the suspect, now identified as James Walker, 21. CCPD followed additional reports from residents who saw the suspect in the area.

At one point, police said officers saw Walker drop a backpack he was carrying. Inside, two loaded handguns and other items were found, the department said.

As police pursued various tips on the suspect, CCPD said they also received calls from residents reporting items missing from their vehicles, including two handguns and roughly $3,500 in cash.

Police eventually came upon Walker running into the marsh. CCPD said he ran for more than 200 yards before officers were able to apprehend him.

Officers searched Walker and found the missing $3,500, the department added.

The 21-year-old was booked at the Chatham County Jail on charges of entering auto, theft by receiving stolen property, criminal trespass, loitering or prowling and obstruction.

Police said reports of entering autos are still coming into the department. Officials urged Dutch Island residents to check their vehicles and report any thefts.

Vehicles both locked and unlocked were illegally entered Tuesday morning, according to the department. But CCPD said in most cases, suspects only force their way into a locked vehicle if items they want are visible.

“Do not leave valuables – especially firearms – in unlocked vehicles or in plain sight. Take your valuables inside your home, and lock your vehicle,” the department advised.

“Everyone – especially owners of firearms – are asked to do their part to curb this kind of crime by locking vehicles, and not storing valuables inside them,” CCPD added.

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