A quiet, Tyler neighborhood became the scene of a police manhunt this morning. Police were after two people believed to be responsible for a weekend crime spree. It started with a car theft in Smith County Saturday night, which led to a robbery at the Stop 'N Shop on Highway 69 in Flint. The Total gas station on Highway 31 west and Loop 323 in Tyler was hit last night. Around 8:00 this morning, the Fites Cleaners in Gresham was robbed. A white male walked into the cleaners and asked for change.
"He pushed me and he says 'I want all of your money,'" said Fites supervisor Gloria Peterson. "He just took the money right out of the register, and he had his hand under his shirt like he had a gun."
A woman across the street from the cleaners was able to give police a good description of the vehicle and the suspects. That led to a short car chase with Tyler police.
"At one point, officers had the suspects vehicle boxed in," said Tyler police officer Chris Moore. "but the driver swerved at an officer and made it off into this neighborhood. The car came to rest over on this utility pole."
That utility pole was in Alvin Foster's front yard on Boswell road, just east of Frankston Highway.
"I saw a guy get out of the car," said Foster, "went to come toward me, and he saw me when I got up, then he went and ran in between the houses."
A perimeter was immediately set up around the neighborhood with about 20 officers from the Tyler Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff's Department, and Precint 2 Constable's Office. At 8:30, two county search dogs arrived, leading deputies and officers on a difficult search through some woods.
"Just a lot of briars, lot of brush, real thick, that's all," explained Smith County Precinct 2 Constable Frank Creath.
The dogs lost his trail. At 9:45, ETMC's helicopter arrived, carrying with it Tyler Police Officer Larry Christian and a thermal imager.
"At that point, we were thinking that maybe he had gotten out," said Moore, "but by using the thermal imager we were able to say that, no, yeah, he's still in here."
The perimeter was narrowed, and at 10:40 the search was over.
"Been the dog sniffed him out," Creath said proudly.
In custody are 31-year-old Jason Paul White and 42-year-old Carla Gill. Both are from Whitehouse, and both are charged with aggravated robbery for the Total Gas Station. White is charged with aggravated robbery for the Fites Cleaners. Gill is charged with evading in a vehicle, aggravated assault on a public servant, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. More charges are expected.