Authorities say a retail theft suspect fleeing police made a daring escape attempt by jumping 15 feet down into a wetland before being tracked down by a sheriff’s canine in Lindenhurst.
The Lindenhurst Police Department responded around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday to the Walgreens, 399 South Route 45 in Lindenhurst, for a report of a theft in progress.
Lindenhurst Chief of Police Thomas Jones said staff from the business observed two males acting suspiciously in the store while placing multiple items in a basket in a “hasty manner.”
Staff also saw a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot driving around the store multiple times.
Officers arrived on the scene and made contact with the blue Chevrolet SUV, which was parked in front of the store, Jones said.
A man exited the store simultaneously carrying a basket of proceeds from the Walgreens.
The man fled on foot carrying the stolen proceeds after spotting police.
The suspect, identified as Shaun B. Thomas, 25, of Beach Grove, Indiana, jumped over a metal guardrail in the rear of the parking lot and fell approximately 15 feet into a swampy wetland area, Jones said.
The blue Chevrolet SUV also fled the area. A perimeter was established and additional police agencies responded to the scene.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded with a canine unit and Thomas was located in the wetland area along Stearns School Road east of Route 45, Jones said.
Canine Zeus began barking after locating the man and he surrendered without further incident.
The case was reviewed by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, which approved charges of retail theft and resisting a peace officer.
“This is yet another example of great teamwork. Upon arrival at the Walgreens, Lindenhurst police officers requested immediate assistance from our law enforcement partners. Through this collaborative effort, a perimeter was established, a canine team was requested, and pertinent evidence was located near the scene and subsequently collected,” Jones said.
“Through additional interviews and analysis, we were able to determine that the vehicle used in this incident was registered in Chicago and we were able to identify the driver, also from Chicago. The teamwork displayed by law enforcement, in cooperation with the State’s Attorney’s Office allowed for a positive resolution to this investigation,” Jones said.
Thomas was processed at the police department and released from custody because the charges are non-detainable.
He is scheduled to appear in court on January 5.