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Man charged in swiping of tip jar from local restaurant

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

MORE: Read more Stafford County news

A North Carolina man ended up with multiple felony charges following the theft of a tip jar from a Stafford County restaurant Sunday night, police said.

Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said the theft occurred between 9:30 and 9:50 p.m. at the China King restaurant at 11 Hope Road. A man entered the restaurant, ordered dinner and suddenly grabbed the jar. He ran out, got into a vehicle and drove south on U.S. 1.

An employee and another man followed the suspect and confronted him at U.S. 1 and Courthouse Road. They told him to return the jar, which contained a relatively small amount of money, and the man replied that he didn’t steal anything.

He then continued south at a high rate of speed, got onto Interstate 95 at the Centreport Parkway exit and headed back north, Kennedy said. Deputy Tom Grasso spotted the vehicle about a mile past the Courthouse exit heading north and tried to stop it.

Police said the driver was weaving in and out of traffic and passing other motorists on the shoulder. He appeared ready to take the Aquia exit, Kennedy said, but suddenly swerved back into traffic and continued north.

Deputies stopped pursu ing the vehicle at that point because it had become too dangerous, Kennedy said.

However, a couple of miles later the suspect vehicle struck a pickup truck and was abandoned in the center lane of the highway. The car caught on fire and witnesses saw the driver running into the woods. The pickup truck driver was not injured, Kennedy said.

Deputies and a police dog searched the area, but were unable to find the suspect Sunday. However, they found information in the car that led to his identity, and warrants were obtained.

Police also learned that the car had been stolen earlier Sunday in North Carolina, Kennedy said. It was a rental car and had been taken from the renter.

About 7 a.m. Monday, state police took a man into custody who had been seen walking along the interstate with a cut on his face. He was turned over to the Sheriff’s Office after state police real ized he was wanted.

Travis Berryhill, 30, is charged with petty larceny, felony eluding, grand theft auto, felony hit-and-run, possession of stolen proper ty, driving without a license and reckless driving. He was placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail after being treated for injuries he appar ently received in the Sunday accident, Kennedy said.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

 

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