NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – A man has been charged after police say he led them on a lengthy chase through Niles.
Sheldon Robinson, 48, of Columbiana, is charged with receiving stolen property and fleeing and eluding.
He was driving a Chevy Uplander minivan that was pulling a trailer with a riding lawnmower.
Niles Police Chief Jay Holland says officers were alerted that the van, reported stolen out of East Liverpool, entered the city from the department’s new license plate reader camera system. It happened Wednesday just after 1 p.m.
“Officers responded, found the vehicle parked at the Eastwood Mall between Boscov’s and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. Patrol officer got behind the vehicle, hit his emergency lights, vehicle took off,” Holland said.
The chase ended up on Route 82 and onto Route 11 south. Robinson reached speeds up to 95 miles per hour.
“The suspect slammed on his brakes on the 711 connector and made a U-turn at the emergency U-turn cut through and there was a collision between two of our cruisers but nothing major,” Holland said.
No officers were hurt in the collision but the chase continued northbound. It eventually ended on Ridge Road, north of State Route 88, where police say Robinson ditched the van, took off running through the woods and was arrested in a field.
Holland says had the department not had the camera system, officers likely would have never known the stolen van entered the city.
“If someone crosses into our borders of our city, that’s entered into the crime computer as an entered vehicle, Amber Alert, senior alert, warrants, stolen vehicle. We’re all alerted and our dispatch is alerted. It’s pretty amazing technology,” Holland said.
Holland says the department has been using this new camera system for about a month now and they’ve already had success with it.
“It’s actually the second vehicle we recovered stolen and both of them are out in the Eastwood Mall area which, more likely if you’re driving a stolen vehicle out to our retail area, you’re not out there selling cookies. You’re out there to do something bad,” Holland said.
As for Robinson, Holland says at the time of his arrest, he had four active warrants, two of which were felonies out of Geauga and Columbiana counties.
His bond was set at $250,000 in Niles Municipal Court. A preliminary hearing is set for Monday, Sept. 26.