By Hank Wiesner/Southern Sentinel
RIPLEY – Ripley police are seeking a Simpson County man who they say broke into several vehicles this week and took purses from them, wrecked a car during a chase by police Wednesday night, then stole a truck and escaped Thursday.
The wreck briefly knocked out power in parts of the city. There were no injuries.
Police say Tony Martin Clark, 43 will face numerous charges. He is currently on probation from three counts of auto theft.
The case began to unfold Tuesday night when police were advised of a vehicle break-in in which a purse and credit cards were stolen.
One card was used several times that night before the owner could cancel it.
Police interviewed clerks in the stores where the card was used and developed a description of the suspect and his vehicle.
Wednesday night, another vehicle was broken into, and a purse and contents taken.
Later that night, a Ripley police officer saw a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle’s description, and a man matching the suspect’s description using an ATM in a Ripley convenience store.
As the officer asked to see the card the man was using in the ATM, the man tried to run away.
A scuffle followed, and the officer chased the man across the street but couldn’t catch him.
The man was able to make his way back to his car and drove quickly from the scene.
The officer pursued. The chase led north on City Avenue North, where the car collided with another vehicle turning onto the road.
Suspect’s vehicle then hit a power pole, knocking out electrical service briefly to a number of customers.
The suspect ran from the scene and escaped despite an intensive search by officers.
The case wasn’t over. Early Thursday morning police said a truck was stolen. The owner told police whoever stole it first siphoned gas out of a nearby 4-wheeler and put it in the truck. Later that morning, another car was broken in, with a purse and contents taken.
Clark is also wanted for questioning in connection with thefts in New Albany, police said.
The car he wrecked when he fled police was registered to a Simpson county woman, but had not been reported stolen.