Photos: Matthew Braden and Lakota Tripp
Two Kansas residents are in the Baxter County Detention Center after allegedly stealing a wallet at a park near Lakeview. According to Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, 20-year-old Matthew Braden and 22-year-old Lakota Tripp of Wichita were taken into custody Tuesday morning after a high-speed chase came to an end in Midway.
The sheriff’s office received a report from a female at the Bull Shoals-White River roadside park stating two men in an SUV entered her vehicle, stole her wallet and proceeded on Arkansas Highway 178. A deputy met the suspects’ vehicle nearly 20 minutes later and attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but the SUV accelerated and passed several vehicles in no-passing zones.
The deputy began pursuing the SUV at a high speed. The suspects approached the intersection with Arkansas Highway 5 in Midway, and the vehicle veered into the Eagles Club parking lot. The driver lost control, and the vehicle overturned and came to rest on its wheels.
The driver continued his attempt to flee with the engine revving and tires spinning. He and his passenger were soon taken into custody. The driver was identified as Braden, and the passenger was identified as Tripp.
The wallet was not located in the vehicle. The suspects claimed they threw it out while driving after finding no money inside. The wallet contained credit cards, a driver’s license and other identification cards. Authorities did locate drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.
Braden and Tripp reportedly admitted to stealing a truck from a relative in Kansas. They drove it to Oklahoma where they ran out of fuel. The suspects later took the SUV on a test drive from a dealership and didn’t return it. The vehicle was reported stolen from Ponca, Oklahoma, and had been entered in the National Crime Information Center database.
Braden and Tripp are facing felony counts of breaking or entering, tampering with evidence, three counts of theft of a credit card, fleeing in a vehicle and theft by receiving and misdemeanor counts of theft of property, possession of drug paraphernalia, careless and prohibited driving and no liability insurance. Their bonds are set at $25,000 each, and they will appear in Baxter County Circuit Court later this month.
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