CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ark. — Arkansas State Police nabbed one suspect for the attempted theft of cargo from the trailer of an 18-wheeler, but another suspect evaded lawmen even after an intense search.
It happened Tuesday morning near the Turrell exit on Interstate-55 and caused quite a bit of commotion at what is normally a quiet truck stop.
“I was asleep and I heard all kinds of sirens,” truck driver Michael Choate said.
Choate was catching some Zs in the sleeper of his big rig when Arkansas State Police swarmed the area shortly after 3 a.m.
“I thought somebody had broke out of prison the way they was going around, searching trucks, knocking on doors and checking for people,” he said.
Choate found out officers were looking for a couple of suspected cargo thieves.
“They just asked if I’d seen anybody. There was two guys in a car, had bailed out and run on them. Been stealing stuff out of trucks,” Choate said.
Arkansas State Police caught one of guys and spent hours searching farmland behind the truck stop for the other, but without success.
We’re told officers checked the padlocks and seals on several box trailers in the truck stop parking lot and continued to patrol the area.
Choate said he’s not worried about getting ripped off, because he usually drives a flat-bed with an over-sized load.
“It would take a heck of a man to steal my freight. Most everything I haul is about 48-thousand pounds,” he said.
Still, it makes him mad that other truckers are being victimized. He believes the bad guys are targeting trailers possibly hauling stuff that can be easily fenced.
Choate doesn’t mind saying who he thinks is doing the dirty work.
“It’s mostly crack-heads, druggies and all that. Wanting to steal stuff to go buy their high. Something they can get rid of quick,” he said.
The Arkansas State Police hasn’t released the identity of the suspect in custody or the charges, nor have they said what the cargo was or what trucking company was involved.