Photo by Brian Blackley

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 24, 1999

According to the Pike County Sheriff’s Department André Dumass went the wrong way when he allegedly was invoved in stealing property from a home in the Livingston Crossroads area. He was later seen by Sheriff’s Investigator Frank Wheeler who pursued Dumass and a companion until the two men wrecked a stolen truck and fled into a wooded area. They were arrested three hours later.

Suspects nabbed after auto chase


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Managing Editor

Nov. 23, 1999 11 PM

Two men are in the Pike County Jail after a three-hour manhunt by local authorities.

Michael Gannt, 20, of Rt. 3, Box 96A, Needmore Road, Troy and Andre Dumass, 23, of 3080 County Road 23, Auburn, Ala., have been arrested by the Pike County Sheriff’s Dept. for driving a stolen truck and for burglarizing a home Tuesday morning in the Livingston Crossroads area.

Gannt told deputies that he moved to Pike County a week ago from Jacksonville, Ala.

According to Russell Thomas, Pike County Sheriff, the two men were apprehended in a wooded area near Banks after they led Pike County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Frank Wheeler on a five-mile chase in their stolen Ford Ranger pickup, which they wrecked.

After wrecking the vehicle, the two men fled into a wooded area where Troy Police Department officers worked dogs and were able to contain the suspects so an arrest could be made.

"Officers Tim Hunter, David Johnson and Mike Johnson with the Troy Police Department did a fine job with the canine unit to keep these subjects on the move," Thomas said. "Their help and the help of the Troy Police Department was essential in this arrest. We appreciate their assistance."

The day started early for the suspects and for Wheeler who was traveling County Road 26 when he noticed the two men outside of their 1996 pickup. He approached the vehicle to talk with the two men when they jumped into the vehicle and fled, Wheeler said.

"I turned on my blue lights and they drove off," Wheeler said. "Then I turned on the siren and they raced off."

After a five-mile chase, the men driving the vehicle lost control and it overturned after running over the railroad tracks at the intersection of Highways 93 and 69.

"Before the vehicle stopped rocking, they were out of it and they fled into the woods," Wheeler said.

Assistance was called in to the Sheriff’s Department while Wheeler did a preliminary search of the vehicle. Inside, he said he found an assault rifle, a camcorder, a Nintendo video game and several bottles of alcohol.

"The merchandise discovered matches that of a home in the Livingston Crossroads area that was stolen that morning," Thomas said.

The suspects were boxed in by members of the Sheriff’s Department and Police Department and canine units. Members of the community also helped corner the suspects.

A three-hour search resulted in the capture of the suspects, one of whom was chased down on foot by Sheriff Thomas.

The arrest of the two men, Thomas said, was the result of the watchful eyes of Investigator Wheeler.

"His instincts were correct," Thomas said. "His good judgement and awareness were the keys to our apprehending these suspects. We don’t know how much damage they would have done had they not been apprehended."

Thomas said the two men were headed toward Brundidge at the time of their encounter with Wheeler.

Reports indicate that the vehicle the men were using at the time of the arrest was stolen from an Amoco station in Opelika on Nov. 19.

The Sheriff’s Department expected to charge the men with receiving stolen property.