NEW CASTLE, Del. (CBS) – A Delaware man was arrested after stealing his own truck from a repair shop using a front end loader with fork lifts attached and crashing into a retention pond.
Shortly after 12:30 Saturday morning, police responded to a theft at the Stop-N-Go located off of Christiana Road in New Castle, Delaware.
According to police, someone notified the business owner that part of the fence surrounding his complex had been torn down.
After investigating and reviewing surveillance video, officials saw that a front end loader, with attached fork lifts, was used to take a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck from the property.
Police say that after the store owner attempted to contact the pickup truck owner, to no avail, the pickup truck owner, Donald A. Smith II, called the store owner back and told the owner he had picked up his truck from the Stop-N-Go using his front end loader.
The truck was being held at the repair shop because Smith, 30, of Bear, Delaware, had defaulted on payment to the Stop-N-Go.
At about 1:15 a.m. police received a radio call that a front end loader was being operated in the parking lot of Pockets Restaurant and Tavern located at South DuPont Highway.
Authorities report that they located the vehicle after being informed that the front end loader entered a heavily wooded are behind the tavern.
Police say a pursuit began as, Smith, the driver of the front-end loader, began travelling southbound on US13, then crossed the median and drove south on the northbound lanes before crossing back to the southbound lanes. Smith then drove through a private driveway, travelled back over to US13 and then entered a cornfield.
Police began to set up a perimeter around the cornfield when the vehicle was seen on Buena Vista Drive where it drove between to homes on Camino Court and into a retention pond.
Officials say Smith escaped from the front end loader and swam to shore where he was arrested without incident.
Smith has been charged with disregarding a police officer’s signal, theft of services, driving while suspended and improper lane change, among other charges.
He was taken to Troop 2, then arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 11 and released after posting $5,750 secured bail.