A Delaware man was arrested after police say he stole his own truck and then led state troopers on a wild chase.
On Friday, shortly after 12:30 a.m., Delaware State Troopers were called to the Stop-N-Go off Christiana Road in New Castle for a report of a motor vehicle theft. Investigators say part of the fence surrounding the complex was torn down and a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was missing.
Surveillance tapes showed a front end loader with fork lifts attached drive down the side of the property, carry the truck on its forks and flee the area, according to investigators.
Police say the store owner tried to call the truck owner, Donald Smith, 30, of Bear to let him know about the theft. The call went to voicemail and then Smith called the store owner back a few minutes later, according to police. Smith allegedly told the owner he had gotten his truck back that night and claimed he used his front end loader to retrieve it. Smith allegedly defaulted on the payment he owed Stop-N-Go for the work they completed on the pickup and the truck was being held until the payment was received.
Credit: Delaware State Police
Around 1:15 a.m., police say they received a radio call reporting a man driving a front end loader in the parking lot of Pockets Restaurant and Tavern on South DuPont Highway. Troopers responded to the parking lot as the front end loader drove into a wooded area behind the restaurant, according to investigators. Police say the vehicle then exited the woods and travelled southbound on US13 as troopers pursued.
At one point, police say the front end loader made its way across the center median and drove southbound in the northbound lanes before crossing back to the southbound lane. The chase lasted around 35 minutes as the vehicle drove through a driveway and into the Chaddwyck Development before crossing back over US13 and into a cornfield where troopers ended the pursuit.
As troopers set up a perimeter of the cornfield, police say the front end loader drove on Buena Vista Drive into Camino Court. Smith then eventually drove the loader into the pond where it became disabled. Police say Smith escaped the vehicle and swam to the shore. He was then taken into custody without incident.
Smith was arrested for theft, driving while suspended, driving on the wrong side of the roadway, criminal mischief and other related offenses. He was arraigned and later released after posting $5,750 secured bond.