Couple arrested following chase

St. Clair Township Patrolman Scott Mick calls in information about suspect John Walker (seated in cruiser) after a pursuit ended in his arrest for theft and possession of drug abuse instruments. (Photo by Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert)

WEST POINT – A man and woman from Niles were charged Friday by St. Clair Township Police after a high-speed chase from the Dunham’s Plaza in Calcutta to the area near Crockery City Farms on East Liverpool Road.

Charged with theft and possession of drug abuse instruments was the passenger, John A.Walker, 25, while the driver, Stacey Stauffer, 29, was charged with driving under suspension and complicity.

A concerned citizen called police to report a man with an armful of clothing running out of Dunham’s with store employees in pursuit. The citizen provided a detailed description of the man, including his tattoos, as well as the car he entered and its license plate number, according to Detective Sgt. Brian McKenzie.

The vehicle traveled at a high rate of speed onto state Route 170, turning onto state Route 11 northbound, with township officers in pursuit.

Patrolman Scott Mick was able to catch up to the vehicle south of the West Point exit and tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the vehicle continued on, exiting south onto U.S. Route 30/East Liverpool Road until it finally pulled over about two to three miles down the road.

Walker “matched the description to a ‘t,'” given by the citizen, McKenzie said, adding that the officer saw in plain view inside the vehicle a large pile of clothing still on hangers and containing the security tags.

He said close to $800 worth of clothing had been taken from the sporting goods store.

Walker was arrested without incident and, in the process, officers found in his possession hypodermic needles and other drug paraphernalia, McKenzie reported.

Walker and Stauffer both were found to have several outstanding theft warrants from Boardman police and possibly other jurisdictions.

Walker was transported to county jail, but police expected to release Stauffer to await her court appearance due to her being seven months pregnant.

McKenzie offered his thanks to the concerned citizen who provided the information that led to the arrest, saying, “Without him wanting to be involved, we’d probably never have apprehended them.”