Geraldine man caught after manhunt

Jonathan Richards is suspected of multiple vehicle break-ins in and around Geraldine.

A four-hour manhunt landed a Geraldine man in the DeKalb County Jail on a variety of theft-related charges.

DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies, Alabama State Troopers and police from Fyffe and Geraldine nabbed Jonathan Richards at about 7:30 p.m. at a home on County Road 104.

Richards is suspected in several early morning vehicle break-ins in and around Geraldine. One victim was a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office investigator.

Richards is suspected of taking a variety of weapons, ammo and money from vehicles at around 4 a.m. Tuesday.

“He was bound a determined to not be caught and we were bound a determined to catch him,” Welden said.

Richards was developed as a suspect earlier Tuesday. Investigators tried to interview him at his home on Crow Street. At one point during the investigation, the home caught fire and Richards was able to flee, Weldon said.

Fearing Richards might be heavily armed, officers from area departments, tracking dogs and an ALEA chopper were pressed into service in the search.

“Our No. 1 priority and goal is public safety,” Welden said. “We wanted everyone to be safe.

“It ended peacefully, thankfully.”

Richards was apprehended about three miles from his Crow Street home.

Across the street, Joey and Heather McSpadden watched the events unfold Tuesday evening.

“I knew about the thefts,” Joey said. “Guys at work had been talking about the search all day.

“We never felt like we were in danger. We saw the chopper flying overhead. We knew something was going down when all kinds of police cars came flying.”

He knew the family across the street where Richards was caught.

“(The police) said he was beating on the door trying to get in,” Joey said “I guess he was just hot and tired from running. He took a beer out of the fridge on the porch and sat down to drink it. That’s where I was told he was caught.”

Heather was thankful Richards was ultimately caught.

“I didn’t want to have to worry about him being on the run all night,” Heather said.

“I was really afraid he was going to run more and end up in our yard.”

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