• 36°

Theft suspects caught after high-speed, 3-county chase

By Ritchie Starnes
News Editor
A three-county chase ended in the Richfield area Monday afternoon when the suspects crashed a rented Mercedes Benz and then fled on foot.
Authorities captured Michael Bernard Williams, 31, and Katrina Nicole Rasul, 29, both of South Carolina, a short time after fleeing. Both are facing multiple crimes, including 16 felonies related to breaking and entering vehicles and the theft of debit and credit cards, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Concord police alerted the Highway Patrol around 11:30 a.m. about the suspects headed northbound on Interstate 85 after they were observed breaking into vehicles at Concord Mills, said Sgt. R.D. Mendenhall of the Highway Patrol. Troopers in Rowan County spotted the suspects getting off the interstate. As a trooper pulled in behind the suspects after they turned into a driveway, they suddenly sped away through the residence’s backyard and neighboring yards as a chase ensued, Mendenhall said.
A high-speed chase followed into Rockwell, then into Stanly County with the suspects, at times, traveling at speeds upward of 110 mph. On three occasions the suspects avoided deployed stop sticks, including one at Ward Street in Misenheimer, in an effort to stop the suspects, Mendenhall said.
While on Finger Road the suspects attempted to turn left onto Misenheimer Road at an estimated speed of 92 mph. The 2018 Mercedes sport utility vehicle veered off the right side of the roadway and down an embankment before they fled on foot at 12:01 p.m., according to the report.
Once they had the suspects in custody, authorities found the suspects had ditched bags of property purchased with the stolen debit/credit cards, reports stated.
Mendenhall said Williams had an Orangeburg, South Carolina address on his driver’s license but resided in Florida.
The Mercedes SUV was registered as a rental in Georgia. However, the SUV had ficticious plates from North Carolina.
Mendenhall said it’s not uncommon for suspects to use rental vehicles with ficticious plates to commit crimes along the interstate corridor.
Along with the Highway Patrol, the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office and Misenheimer police assisted with the chase. A sheriff’s K-9 unit was used to help locate the suspects.

Contact Ritchie Starnes at 704-754-5076 or ritchie.starnes@stanlynewspress.com.