Men lead authorities on chase into Forsyth in stolen truck, two still on the run

A Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy outside of the Monroe County Board of Education on Thursday / Claudia Coco (WGXA)

FORSYTH, Ga. -- Authorities in Monroe County are searching for two men who ran after they crashed a stolen truck in Forsyth after leading officers on a chase down Interstate 75.

Three schools in the area--Mary Persons High School, T.G. Scott Elementary and Banks Stephens Middle School--and the Monroe County Board of Education are on lockdown while authorities search for the two men, though an official with the Monroe County School System said students don't begin the school year until Friday. Thursday is the final day of pre-planning.

Sgt. Lawson Bittick with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said that the chase began in Lamar County at around 7 a.m. when the Motor Carrier Compliance Division of the Department of Public Safety attempted to stop a Ford F-150 driving south on I-75 for carrying an unsecured load--a gas tank--in its bed.

Bittick said the driver of the F-150 refused to stop and led the officer on a chase into Monroe County.

Deputies with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office joined the chase north of Forysth and followed the truck as it exited the interstate into the city.

Bittick said the truck then crashed in a parking lot on the Central Georgia Technical College Forsyth campus and five men jumped out and ran from the deputies.

One of the men was captured immediately, one was caught within an hour and a third was caught at about noon. Two of the men remain on the run.

A fourth man was arrested separately after Bittick said deputies stopped him for questioning when seeing that he was driving a vehicle with Bibb County plates. That man was arrested on an active warrant out of Bibb County but Bittick said that they suspect the man was in Forsyth to pick up the fleeing men and bring them back to Macon.

Bittick said the F-150 driven in the chase was stolen from Bibb County on Aug. 1 and that a search of the vehicle after the crash produced three cash drawers that are commonly used in convenience stores as well as multiple cartons of cigarettes.

The three men who were arrested are facing charges for theft by receiving stolen property--the Ford F-150--and Bittick said they will likely be facing burglary charges when investigators determine what stores the cash drawers were stolen from. He said that firearms charges may also be forthcoming.

No description of the two remaining suspects is available, though Bittick said authorities are actively searching for the men.

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