A woman suspected of stealing a car was tracked down by a bloodhound Thursday afternoon as she hid from police under a Statesboro church.
Private K9 handler Michael Duncan and his certified tracking dog, Red, were called in to assist the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office in locating the suspect, later identified as Florence Darby Gregory, 37, of Perkins, said Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown. The Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office K9 partners, Max and Gismo, are away at training.
The Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a woman from Grovetown who said her white 2010 Hyundai Elantra had been stolen Tuesday from her home in Columbia County, and she had information that the car was in the Statesboro area, he said.
Further investigation indicated the car had most recently been at the Murphy’s USA gas station near Wal-Mart Supercenter, he said.
Deputies and officers from the Statesboro Police Department “saturated the area in search of the stolen vehicle,” Brown said. Deputy Hunter Oglesby and Cpl. Ross Newman spotted it unoccupied at a church on East Main Street soon thereafter.
Duncan and Red were summoned to assist, “quickly searched the area and (were) able to track the offender to an access door that led to a crawl space underneath the church,” he said.
Oglesby, Duncan and Investigator Walter Deal went under the church and found Gregory hiding in the crawl space.
“Columbia County will be seeking felony warrants for theft” of the car, Brown said.
Gregory also was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and Xanax.
She is charged by the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office with theft by receiving stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, illegal possession of a schedule IV narcotic, drugs not in original container and obstruction, according to jail records.
Gregory is also wanted out of Aiken County, South Carolina, and White County, Arkansas. She is being held in the Bulloch County Jail without bond.
Brown said he “would like to thank the Statesboro Police Department and K9 handler Michael Duncan for their quick response and assistance.”
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.