A patient at a Statesboro alcohol and addiction hospital stole an ice cream truck Wednesday morning and fled to South Carolina, where he was later apprehended.
Statesboro police Detective Sgt. James Winskey said Eric Anthony Melton, 42, of Irving, Texas, climbed into a 26-foot panel truck parked at Willingway Hospital on Jones Mill Road Wednesday morning and drove off.
The Sno-Frost ice cream deliveryman was at the hospital making a delivery when Melton, listed in police reports as a patient of the hospital, somehow got outside and entered the truck, he said.
Police issued lookouts for Melton, who stands 6-feet tall and weighs around 264 pounds, giving a description of the 2009 truck, which had red magnetic signs on the sides. They believed he might have been heading back to Texas, but when Melton was located, he was in the opposite direction — in Allendale County, S.C., Statesboro Public Safety Director Wendell Turner said.
Melton was taken into custody after a traffic stop, he said. He was transferred back to the Bulloch County Jail, where he was booked around 5:30 p.m., according to jail records.
Winskey said additional details would be available as the investigation continues. Jail personnel said Melton was “on an investigative hold” Wednesday evening.
Melton was charged with theft by taking motor vehicle, and further charges may be pending, Winskey said. No injuries were reported in the incident.
The investigation is being led by Detective Benjamin Purvis. Anyone with information concerning this case can contact the Statesboro Police Department at (912) 764-9911.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.