Cops: Shoplifter at Cumming Home Depot arrested after manhunt into sewer system

A manhunt Tuesday morning ended in a Cumming sewer system after a man tried to steal copper wire from a Home Depot, police said.

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A manhunt Tuesday morning ended in a Cumming sewer system after a man tried to steal copper wire from a Home Depot, police said.

A man was taken into custody in a sewer system in Cumming this week after a shoplifting call at a Home Depot turned into a manhunt, police said.

The incident began Tuesday morning when a 24-year-old man allegedly tried to steal copper wire from the store along Market Place Boulevard, which Cumming police Chief David Marsh said people often steal to turn in for recycling so they can get the weight value. Workers at the Home Depot confronted the man, but he ran out of the store and hid in the parking lot after officers were called about 8:10 a.m., Marsh added.

The man was spotted by officers when he got into his car. But when authorities tried to pull him over, he sped off onto Ga. 400, Marsh said. Due to traffic, officers called off the chase.

About 30 seconds later, the man crashed after losing control of the vehicle and hitting the guardrail, according to Marsh.

“We’re not really sure why (he crashed). I don’t know if he was impaired. I’m not sure what the deal was,” Marsh said.

The man then hopped over the guardrail and fled into a development. Since it was still in the early stages of construction, the only part that had been completed was the sewer system.

At that point, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office joined the manhunt and a deputy asked the construction crew for a map of the sewer system.

Authorities decided they would place a person at each entry into the system and wait for the man to resurface. When they were about to release a K-9 after waiting for about 20 minutes, the man came out “kind of like whack-a-mole,” Marsh said.

“They were all just interested. You know, kind of sitting around watching like this is not something that happens most days,” Marsh said about the construction crew. “There wasn’t a ton of people out there. But there were enough people to kind of gather everyone’s interest. I imagine they stopped working for a few minutes while that was going on.”

The man was charged with theft by shoplifting, fleeing or attempting to elude for a felony offense, and other drug offenses, according to online records.