Griffin Police Department (GPD) Cpl. John Hayes and Lt. Tony Thomas were conducting random checks of closed businesses in the 1100 block of West Taylor Street when Hayes observed a suspicious male under a trailer in the parking lot of Maxi-Lube.
Suspect Dennis Freeman, 44, of 577 N. Second St., saw the officers and fled on foot.
“As we were chasing him, we lost sight of him for a second and heard a vehicle crank,” Hayes said. “We ran back to my car since he was fleeing in a truck.”
When Freeman fled behind a West Solomon Street residence, his vehicle went over a drop-off and he was apprehended by GPD officers.
“We conducted a felony arrest of Dennis Freeman and observed what was in his pickup bed,” Hayes said. “He had various articles of recyclable metal and even wire cat traps that are commonly used by animal control officers.”
According to police officials, the wire cat traps were, in fact, stolen from Spalding County Animal Control. Other articles of metal are believed to have been stolen from various victims and GPD investigators discovered that Freeman had been disposing of stolen metal items at local recycling centers.
According to Hayes, this included stolen property from Maxi-Lube that had been taken on an earlier date and sold to Bare Metal.
“Bare Metal has been very cooperative with the investigation and offered to help in any way,” GPD spokesman Bryan Clanton said. “We have since learned that Freeman has a long history of recycling activity and we are investigating his involvement in other thefts. It appears that Freeman has been supporting his drug habit by selling stolen materials to recycling centers. He was actually out on bond for previous felony theft charges and had a court date for these charges next month.”
“We are in the process of determining how many other open cases Freeman has perpetrated. This will consume some time, but we are looking at several cases that go back to January of this year,” Hayes said.
Freeman is in the Spalding County jail. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, felony theft by taking, felony fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer, possession of tools for the commission of a crime and burglary. Further charges are also pending.