Suspects Steal Donation Jar, Nabbed After High-Speed Chase


A man and woman face robbery and other charges after the man allegedly stole a charity donation jar for the Children’s Miracle Network on Friday.

The incident happened at the Walmart on the University of Arkansas campus, police said. Fayetteville police Sgt. Craig Stout said James Roork, 26, took the jar, hit a Walmart employee who had chased him and got into a white Ford Ranger with a Texas license plate driven by Denise Berry, 25.

The pair fled but were spotted by a Fayetteville police officer when they pulled into Harp’s on Garland Avenue, police said. The pair switched seats, with Roork jumping behind the wheel, and sped off west of Wedington at speeds approximately 65 mph.

Police said the truck went south on I-540 at speeds close to 100 mph before exiting at Razorback Road and driving the wrong way on an on-ramp. The truck reentered I-540 and headed south at speeds approximately 100 mph, police said.

Roork nearly hit several vehicles at various points of the chase, police said.

The chase ended when the truck drove over spike strips near West Fork set by members of the Washington County Sheriff Department and other law enforcement agencies, police said. Those officers had been working on a drug case when they heard about the pursuit.

The truck stopped south of the West Fork exit and the pair was arrested, police said. Roork and Berry also face charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, fleeing and carrying a weapon, a loaded 9 mm handgun, and Roork was charged with a handful of traffic violations.

“At the time of the robbery, no weapon was displayed in the subsequent search of the truck after the stop there was a weapon found in the truck along with some marijuana and some suspected methamphetamine,” said Lt. Gary Crain of the university police.

Roork has a Fayetteville address while Berry is from Live Oak, Texas. Neither suspect is affiliated with the University of Arkansas, police said.

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