Boone, NC-- Two men from West Virginia are in jail in Watauga County but an officer had to go swimming to catach one.
According to a news release from the Watauga County Sheriff's Office, the entire incident happened Sunday. Officers with the Boone Police Department, the Watauga County Sheriff's Office, and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol caught the men who they said had been on a wild crime spree that started in WVA.
The search for the suspects started in Boone around 4:32pm when officers responded to a purse snatching at a restaurant on Rivers Street. The victim provided a description of the suspects and their Ford Explorer.
Investigators said about 18 minutes later, a Boone Patrol Lieutenant spotted the SUV on Hwy 105. The person driving the vehicle refused to stop for the officer's lights and siren and a pursuit began. The pursuit led officers out of Boone on Hwy 105 towards Avery County.
During this pursuit, the suspect vehicle hit another vehicle on Hwy 105 causing significant damage, but no serious injury. With the vehicle still in gear, the driver and passenger exited the vehicle and ran from the officer on foot to the Watauga River.
Lieutenant Goodman was alone at this point as officers were rushing to assist him. He pursued on foot down an embankment and swam after the two suspects across a deep section of a river. Lieutenant Goodman caught and arrested one of the suspects near the river. The second suspect was located about 15 minutes later in the Hound Ears community and was also arrested.
Police learned that the Ford Explorer had been stolen the day before in Wilkes County.
Other law enforcement agencies were notified of the arrests. It is believed that these same suspects stole a Subaru in West Virginia and then committed Larceny at the Wilkesboro Wal-mart. Wilkesboro Police had attempted to stop the stolen Subaru and a vehicle chase ensued, but it was called off for safety reasons.
The suspects abandoned the stolen Subaru, and immediately stole a Ford Explorer from a Wilkesboro home, according to the police report. Officers said it is the same stolen Ford Explorer that the suspects were caught driving in Boone.
Investigators are still looking into additional crimes in the Boone area that may be linked to these suspects.
The suspects are identified as: Jeremy Allen White and Brandon Michael Carroll. They are both from Fairmont, WV.
WFMY News 2