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Incident leads to charges in 2 states

June 15, 1999

HANCOCK - A West Virginia man was arrested on charges related to auto theft by two police agencies Tuesday evening.

Hancock Police charged Thomas Murphy, 31, of Martinsburg, W.Va., with auto theft. The Morgan County Sheriff's Office charged him with bringing a stolen car into West Virginia.

Murphy was being held late Tuesday pending a bond hearing.

At 6:30 p.m., a man drove a Pontiac sedan to Gary's gas station on Main Street in Hancock, according to Sgt. Shawn Tasker of the Hancock Police Department.

His car broke down there, and a Chevrolet Lumina that was parked at the pump with the engine running was stolen, police said.

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As the man drove out of the gas station lot he crashed into another car, said Tasker.

Driving on U.S. 522, the man crossed the bridge into Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and hit the median, disabling the stolen car.

With officers from Hancock and a Maryland State Police K-9 unit in pursuit, the man ran into nearby woods and crossed the Potomac River, police said.

At that point, police lost the man's trail.

Hours later, a man walked into the Sheetz Store on Main Street in Hancock and bragged about the crime, police said.

A patron notified Hancock Police, who arrested Martin around 9 p.m. behind the store, which is a block away from the gas station where the car was stolen.

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