BELLA VISTA (KFSM) — A suspect is in custody after leading a police pursuit across two counties, according to Arkansas State Police. The same suspect may be linked to three recent commercial burglaries in Fayetteville.
John Gaunt, 23, of Elkins is accused of two counts of felony fleeing, and one count of possession of a firearm by a certain person and theft by receiving, and misdemeanor driving with a suspended license and reckless driving.
Even more, police said Gaunt may be linked to recent commercial burglaries in Fayetteville at Lewis Ford and two Eureka Pizza stores.
Gaunt is in the Washington County Detention Center in lieu of a $100,000 bond. While he was being booked into the Washington County Detention Center, an officer had gaunt remove his shoes and noticed the tread and size of his shoe matched with a complete shoe print left at the scene of a burglary at Eureka Pizza on East Mission, and matched a partial shoe print left at a burglary at Eureka Pizza on MLK Boulevard.
Police said he made several self-incriminating comments regarding the burglaries.
The chase began after Gaunt reportedly failed to stop for police in Bella Vista, and a pursuit began. It ended on Wedington Drive in Fayetteville.
At least two patrol cars have flat tires, according to a witness. The witness also told 5NEWS that the cars sustained damage.
Bella Vista, Fayetteville and Lowell Police Departments, and Washington County and Benton County Sheriff’s Offices assisted in the matter.
This is not the first high-speed chase Gaunt has led, according to court documents.
An affidavit states during June 2017, Gaunt failed to stop during a traffic stop on Post Road in Rogers. He was in a stolen car.
He led at more than 100 mile-per-hour pursuit from Benton County into Washington County, and also into Madison County, the documents state. The pursuit happened in more than seven towns within those counties.
Gaunt was eventually stopped in Elkins when the vehicle tires went flat.
As a result of the June 2017 chase, he was sentenced to six years probation but failed to comply with terms. A warrant was issued for his arrest Nov. 23, 2017 and he was not found until Jan 13.
According to police, Gaunt has an extensive criminal history, which includes charges out of California for vehicle theft. Other charges in Arkansas include several counts of possession of a controlled substance, eight counts of vehicle theft, five counts of commercial burglary, four counts of failing to appear in court, two counts of theft by receiving, vandalism, carrying a concealed weapon, battery, breaking and entering, first and second-degree criminal mischief, and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
He reportedly told police he doesn’t care about committing crime because he, “… has nothing to live for, and didn’t care because he knew he was going to prison for a very long time.”