Officials: Cell phone theft sparked chase

The suspect was taken into custody on foot on the banks of a bayou behind a west Houston apartment complex

December 6, 2010 8:30:25 PM PST
A dangerous, high-speed chase weaved through Harris County during rush hour traffic, and now we know what set it off.

The chase began around 4pm Monday, but it was instigated by a theft that had occurred hours earlier at a cell phone store off Westheimer and Eldridge.

Store managers told deputies a man stole a cell phone on Monday morning and somehow were able to contact him and get him to bring it back. When the man arrived, he was greeted by Harris County Precinct 5 deputy constables.

The suspect, now identified as 32-year-old Phillip Hines, took off, leading authorities on a 25-minute chase. He wove through the west side, even driving the wrong way down the Interstate 10 feeder.

"Of course it's a dangerous situation; about halfway through the chase, we terminated the direct involvement of the units behind him and let Houston Police Department helicopter take over the pursuit," Harris County Pct. 5 Constable's Office Assistant Chief J.J. Laine said.

He dumped the car and fled on foot at Chimney Rock and Memorial Drive before being arrested minutes later.

"We do have a description of a suspect who was stealing mobile phones and returning them, so we will be looking at possibly some additional cases," Laine said.

When investigators ran the vehicle's license plate number, it came back to a man named Nicolas Blanchy. Blanchy still had his car, but one of his plates had been stolen.

"I feel much that better now that I have the plate ... but I could have had issues with it," Blanchy said.

The suspect was driving the exact same make model and color of Blanchy's car with the stolen plate. Investigators say the suspect car, a black four-door sedan, was taken from a local car dealership.

Blanchy is just glad it's over before more damage was done.

"Fortunately, they caught the guy because other way I would be in a Texan jail," he said.

After being stitched up at a hospital, Hines was transported to jail and charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, felony evading and theft.

Hines has four convictions for auto theft, assault on a peace officer, two trespassing charges and driving with a suspended license.


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