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Suspect in counterfeiting nabbed after 'grate' escape

February 21, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - The search Wednesday afternoon for an elusive counterfeit check-passing suspect ended in a system of underground drainage tunnels behind Wal-Mart, Hagerstown Police said.

Officers used a dog to track the man, who fled about 100 yards into the culvert after an officer chased him throughout the shopping center, Hagerstown Police Sgt. Rebecca R. Fetchu said.

Corey McKenzie Williams, 30, of 62 W. Church St. in Hagerstown, was pulled out through a grate in the roadway before he was handcuffed, Fetchu said.

Charges against Williams include second-degree assault, resisting arrest, passing a counterfeit travelers check and attempted theft less than $100, police said.

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The incident began at about 2:45 when police got a call for a man attempting to pass a counterfeit travelers check at Wal-Mart in the Centre at Hagerstown, Fetchu said.

Officer Chris Barnett arrived and found a suspect in the parking lot of T.G.I. Friday's, Hagerstown Police Sgt. Paul Kifer said. When Barnett tried to handcuff the suspect, he fled across the parking lot, Kifer said. Barnett caught up to the man near Ryan's Grill Buffet and Bakery, where the suspect turned at attempted to punch the officer, Kifer said. As the two struggled, the suspect pulled out of his coat and ran into The Home Depot, Kifer said.

The suspect fled out of the back of The Home Depot, and officers tracked his footprints in the snow to a culvert behind the shopping center, Fetchu said.

The situation was complicated by the fact that officers had no radio contact within the piping system, Fetchu said.

Maryland State Police and Washington County Sheriff's Department units helped set up a perimeter, and four officers entered the drainage system with a dog, Fetchu said.

Officers above ground were able to monitor the search team through storm drain grates at 20-yard intervals along the pipe, she said.

No one was injured in the incident, Kifer said.

A second suspect who was with Williams in the store is to be charged through a criminal summons, Fetchu said.

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