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Three fugitives nabbed in five days

July 29, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - It's not uncommon for Martinsburg City Police to be asked to pick up people wanted for crimes in neighboring states or to find out someone is wanted on an outstanding warrant during a background check, said Cpl. Charles Ellis.

But Ellis said his run of three fugitive arrests in the last five days is strange.

It started Friday, when police received information that a Winchester, Va., man wanted on a probation violation in Frederick County, Va., was at 506 Race St. in Martinsburg, Ellis said.

Ellis said he and Officer Terry Shetley went to the address at about 9 p.m. and talked to a man who coolly told him he was someone else.

The man gave a name and social security number, which Virginia driver's license records showed belonged to a man with an almost identical physical description, he said.

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Still, they weren't quite satisfied it wasn't the guy they were looking for - John Edward Wilson, 23, of 552 Freemont St. - Ellis said. So they called authorities in Winchester and asked them to fax them a photo, which showed them they had the right man, he said.

By 11 p.m., they were back at the home and Wilson was arrested without incident, Ellis said.

He was still being held Tuesday at Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg awaiting extradition to Virginia, according to police.

The next one fell into Ellis' lap on Saturday, when a teenage boy called and said he was a runaway who wanted to go home to Oklahoma, Ellis said.

The 17-year-old was picked up from a Martinsburg home shortly afterward, he said.

When police called authorities in Oklahoma to report they had the missing boy, they learned he was wanted for a probation violation on a burglary charge in Wagoner County, Okla., Ellis said. The boy was placed in the Eastern Regional Juvenile Detention Center awaiting extradition, he said.

The third catch required the most footwork, but also came off without any problems, Ellis said.

When he was going through the radio room at the police station on Monday, Ellis said he spotted a fax of a warrant from Clarke County, Va., for Amber Dawn Gunnoe, 19, wanted for larceny, who was thought to be at a Martinsburg address.

Ellis said he and Shetley went to 653 Faulkner Ave. and talked to the woman's mother, who told them her daughter had gone to work. They went to the workplace and were told Gunnoe had already left, he said.

Then they went back to the house, where they were told by her mother that she wasn't there but was scheduled to go back to work at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Ellis said.

So Ellis decided to catch her while she was getting ready for work by going over to the house right after roll call Tuesday morning at about 8:30 a.m.

When he got there, Gunnoe had to be rustled from bed, he said.

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