Officers with the Cumberland Police Department were called to investigate two men suspected of stealing copper near the old Napa Auto Parts building in Cumberland on Tuesday and ended up in pursuit.
Sgt. Silas Whitehead received a call, while off duty, and contacted his officers to meet him on the scene to begin their investigation.
“Once I arrived on the scene, I observed two males carrying sacks of wire and other metals they had allegedly taken from a coal mine,” said Whitehead. “I looked at the wire and it looked like they had gone underground somewhere and cut the communication cables on intercoms.”
Whitehead said each suspect gave a different scenario as to where the metal was taken, with one saying it was taken from a Blue Diamond coal mine and the other saying he had permission to be on Alpha Natural Resources property in Cloverlick where the metal was taken.
After the suspects gave their statements, officers then contacted security officers at the Cloverlick mines to advise them items may have been taken. Officers Jason Blanton and John Brown arrived on the scene and took charge of the investigation.
“I knew one of the suspects to be Joshua Seals, and that he was wanted out of Letcher County on a circuit court warrant,” Whitehead said. “I conducted an E-Warrant check on Mr. Seals and while doing this he gave the other officers a different name. Once Mr. Seals realized we knew who he was, he took off running and jumped in the river.
“I was on the other side of the river when Mr. Seals took off running and observed him come up out of the river running. During this time, school was letting out and the area was really congested with students and parents. I knew we had to get him quickly and keep him away from the school. I don’t think Mr. Seals would have harmed any children, but this day and time you never know what people will do to stay out of jail.”
Chasing Seals over 200 yards, Whitehead caught him as he was trying to climb over the fence in the field next to the school. He said Seals was placed on the ground until other officers arrived and placed him in handcuffs.
Seals was charged with first-degree fleeing and evading police (on foot), resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, giving police false name and address and third-degree criminal mischief. He was also charged with several warrants from Letcher County Circuit Court for absconding probation. He was lodged in the Harlan County Detention Center with no bond.
Brown is in charge of the investigation. He was assisted by Whitehead and Blanton.