UPDATE: Burglary suspect tries to blend with half marathon runne - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Burglary suspect tries to blend with half marathon runners

Posted: Updated:
DALTON, GA (WRCB) -

UPDATE: A suspected jewelry thief on the run encountered, what he thought would be the perfect getaway. He found a road race on the streets of Dalton and figured he could blend in with the runners.

During the Red Carpet Half Marathon a majority of the Dalton Police Department is stationed at each intersection handling traffic control.

It just so happens that the detective at one intersection recognized a possible burglary suspect who looked a little out of place.

"I've actually worked that same intersection for the last three years," Det. Sam Eaton said.

But this was the first year Detective Sam Eaton ended the race with an arrest.

"I noticed from a little ways off there was just somebody who didn't quite fit in with everybody else," Eaton said.

Eaton says he spotted 26-year old James Ownbey walking along Thornton Ave.
    
Then, after seeing police, Ownbey joined a group of runners trying to complete the half marathon.

"There was a small group that was running there in front and behind where he was, he just tried to blend in with them," Eaton said, "You know kind of their pace I guess you could say."

Wearing jeans, a long sleeve shirt, no running shoes and no race bib, Det. Eaton called for back-up.

"And just the method in which he ran by me, huffing and puffing like he had just run 20 miles already, which I knew he had not," Eaton said.

Eaton says the department was working to solve a string of burglaries on Mount Sinai Road.
    
One home had a safe with $40,000 worth of jewelry stolen.
    
Police already named Ownbey as a possible suspect.

"I knew about the burglary, I knew that this guy was a potential suspect, I knew him from past dealings," Eaton said.

Ownbey ran the race for about half a mile. He turned off a side road but police caught up with him shortly after.
    
When police searched his car they found the safe that the stolen jewelry had been in.

Ownbey is charged with forced entry burglary and obstruction of officers after he was caught during the half marathon race.

Police say he has prior charges including theft, unlawful possession of a weapon, and spent a few years in prison in Louisiana.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Dalton police said a burglar suspect was not awarded a finisher's medal, but a pair of handcuffs when he tried to blend in the Red Carpet Half Marathon. 

James Clayton Ownbey, 26, was suspected of breaking into homes on Mount Sinai Road the past couple of weeks and taking items, including a safe reportedly containing an estimated $40,000 worth of jewelry. 

He was also arrested on October 23rd on a shoplifting charge from the Shurgart Road Walmart. When Ownbey bonded out on the arrest, detectives linked him to the Mount Sinai Road burglary. 

During the Red Carpet Half Marathon on Saturday, a detective handling traffic control at the intersection of Thornton Ave. and Tyler St.,saw Ownbey walk out of the wood line near some mini-warehouses and start walking south along Thornton. 

Police said when Ownbey saw the detective, he joined a group of half-marathon runners and ran along with them as he passed the detective, while wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt, trying to blend in with the group. 

The detective told other officers to look out for Ownbey in the area of Benton St. Officers found Ownbey walking by himself on Benton towards Hawthorne St. Officers told him to stop and after pausing, he tried to run. Officers chased him a short distance and took him into custody.

Ownbey is charged with one count of forced entry burglary and obstruction of officers. 

Dalton detectives are still investigating possible connections between Ownbey and other burglaries and further charges are possible. 

Dalton investigators were able to recover the safe and some other stolen property from Mount Sinai Road burglary from the vehicle Ownbey has been using. 

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