At least 2 at large after theft at WRSA
Hot lead and heavy metal fly in radio tower burglary
By Seth Burkett
LACEY’S SPRING — Two men went on a rampage to escape capture after burglarizing a radio tower Wednesday morning, according to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department.
The men shot at and rammed a pursuing vehicle and then hurled stolen equipment at patrol cars out the back of their van as they blew down the winding roads of eastern Morgan County, sheriff’s investigators said.
Investigator Terry Kelly said there were at least two people in the van but there could have been others. One is believed to be Scott Wayne Crook, 27, of Lacey’s Spring.
Kelly said the second man has not been identified.
“I’m assuming Crook was driving because it was his van,” Kelly said. “There was another guy in the back throwing stuff out of the van, so we know there were two of them. It was dark. Driving down the road at 70 or 80 mph with somebody throwing stuff at you, it’s hard to get a real good description.”
Kelly said Tommy Macpherson and his teenage daughter went to check out the transmitter at 276 Telephone Tower Road at about 4:45 a.m. after station personnel told him the tower had stopped transmitting.
As they arrived, the green van was leaving the site. A barbed wire enclosure around the transmitter had been knocked down, Kelly said.
The van went around Macpherson’s car. Knowing the site had been burglarized in the past, Macpherson gave chase while calling 911, Kelly said.
Macpherson stopped when the suspects fired a shot at his car, Kelly said.
However, the van had driven to a dead end and ended up turning around and coming back toward him. The van rammed Macpherson’s truck twice and the suspects fired four or five more shots, Kelly said.
The bullets did not strike Macpherson and his daughter, but their car was disabled by the collision.
Deputies caught up to the van on Applegrove Road.
One of the suspects rained large pieces of metal conduit and other stolen items onto the patrol cars, Kelly said.
Deputies chased the vehicle into a cornfield off Pleasant Valley Road near the Marshall County line. The suspects bailed out and ran for the woods, Kelly said.
Marshall and Cullman County deputies, Arab police and state troopers assisted in the ensuing manhunt.
Despite helicopters overhead and dogs sniffing the bushes, the suspects managed to elude capture throughout the day.
Police visit home
Investigators tied the van to Crook and his girlfriend, Candy Michelle Flippo, 29, and paid a visit to the couple’s home at 17 Telephone Tower Road.
They found a methamphetamine lab and stolen property lying around the residence, Kelly said.
“Some of the stuff recovered was WRSA stuff,” Kelly said. “There was a toolbox with WRSA written on it and some other stuff they were able to identify. They lived right down the road and they’d been helping themselves.”
On July 16, someone stole about $30,000 in cables, phone lines, copper wire and antenna parts from the tower, according to police reports.
Deputies arrested Flippo and two others, Joyce Edwinnia Bradley, 53, and Tracey Michelle Bradley, 32, both of Huntsville, on charges of loitering in a drug house.
Kelly said charges of making meth are pending on Kelly and Crook.
“There will be possible drug-endangered child charges. A 9-year-old lived in the house, but she was at school when we were there,” Kelly said.
Kelly has already obtained warrants charging Crook with attempted murder and first-degree robbery.
Shortly after the search for Crook and the other suspect ended, Pleasant Valley Road residents sighted one of the men on foot, Kelly said.
“They saw a guy walking down the road all cut up like he had been running through briars, and they called it in,” Kelly said. “Marshall County found him and challenged him at gunpoint and he ran back into the woods.”
Kelly asked anyone with information about Crook or the other man’s whereabouts to contact him at 560-6196 or the sheriff’s dispatch at 301-1174. He advised the public to consider the suspects armed and dangerous.
Crook is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. He has hazel eyes and blond hair.
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