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Fugitive caught, charged with kidnapping co-defendant in alleged theft ring

Hours after Raven Maxine Lyon-Edwards filed an emergency protective order last week against fugitive Damien Keith Stapp, he allegedly kidnapped the 27-year-old Eufaula woman and was caught following a high-speed chase. Both Stapp, 32, and Edwards have been charged in connection with a theft ring operating in Hanna. Investigators found numerous stolen items at Stapp’s Hanna residence during an investigation. Stapp and his brother, Jason Stapp, 40, of Wetumka, and Edwards were charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, among other allegations. Edwards was arrested along with six other suspects but the Stapp brothers fled, according to authorities. Jason Stapp was still at large as of Monday.

Damien Stapp was arrested following a high-speed chase on Thursday, September 26, the same day Edwards filed for the emergency protective order.

Stapp was charged on September 12 with possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Following his arrest last week he was hit with the additional charges of kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon, escape from arrest or detention, running a roadblock and possession of CDS.

Associate District Judge Brendon Bridges entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the defendant and set bond at $150,000. Stapp’s next court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. on October 29.

Stapp was arrested by McIntosh County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Dalton Thomas, who received a report that the suspect had allegedly kidnapped a woman and was in a four-door Ford F250 pickup truck in the direction of Hanna.

“I figured he was headed to his residence,” Thomas stated in his report.

Thomas said he saw the pickup about two miles east of Hanna.

“It was driving in the middle of the roadway headed west,” he said.

The truck was headed toward Thomas, who stopped in the middle of the road and activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to get the vehicle to stop.

“The suspect vehicle continued to drive extremely fast towards me and refused to slow down,” Thomas said. “Moments before the vehicle would have hit me, I accelerated extremely fast to move out of the roadway so I wouldn’t get hit.”

He ended up in a ditch as the truck continued west on County Road 1250.

“Once I turned around and got behind the vehicle, I observed the vehicle slowing down to speeds around 30 mph and swerving all over the road. The vehicle then continued at speeds between about 20 mph and 60 mph,” he stated in his report.

Apparently the driver of the truck was the kidnap victim, Raven Lyon-Edwards.

“I saw the driver’s window roll down and I observed a female subject, who I know from past cases, as Raven Lyon-Edwards. Raven was crying and looked scared. She was making hand gestures towards me but I wasn’t sure what she was trying to gesture,” Thomas wrote in his report.

Thomas was able to stop the vehicle near State Highway 52 in Hanna.

“I then observed a male subject, identified as Damein Stapp) exit the passenger side of the vehicle and take off running north on Crane Road in Hanna,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he pursued the suspect on foot, eventually catching him hiding under some tree branches.

“While escorting Stapp back to my patrol vehicle I could smell a strong odor of alcohol,” Thomas said.

At the patrol car, Thomas said he found a plastic baggie containing methamphetamine in Stapp’s pocket.

Theft ring investigation

The investigation into a possible theft ring operating out of Hanna began on September 10.

Investigator Thomas said he received information on that date that stolen property was being kept at the residence of Damien Stapp.

He and Deputy Chad Breazeale went to the location, where they discovered two stolen trucks, an 18-foot trailer, lawnmower and other items.

Six suspects were arrested, including:

- Raven Maxie Lyons-Edwards, 27, Eufaula, charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of CDS and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf, bond was set at $3,500 and she was ordered to appear in court at 9 a.m. on October 9 for a pre-preliminary conference.

- James Mason Fletcher, 18, of Frederick, who is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of CDS and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. He was scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday, September 24 for a pre-preliminary hearing conference. Associate District Judge Brendon Bridges entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Fletcher and set bond at $5,000.

- Jacquelyne McKenzie Smith, 30, Hobart, charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. A not guilty plea was entered and a $15,000 bond was set. She was scheduled for a pre-preliminary hearing conference on Tuesday, September

24.

- Tom Ernest Nunn, Henryetta, is charged with two counts of knowingly concealing stolen property. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. Bond was set at $2,000 and he was ordered back to court on October 1 for a pre-preliminary hearing conference.

- Shai La Enni McGirt, 23, Eufaula, charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and knowingly concealing stolen property. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf, bond was set at $20,000 and she was ordered back to court on October 9 for a pre-preliminary conference.

Two more suspects were arrested days later, according to Thomas.

“On September 23, the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office along with the District 25 District Attorney’s Office made another arrest involving the Hanna search warrants,” Thomas stated. “Felony arrest warrants were served on Krystal Cook of Hanna.

“During the course of taking Cook into custody an additional female, identified as Alicia Thatcher of Eufaula, was taken into custody for driving under suspension, harboring a fugitive, resisting arrest, obstruction and assault on four police officers. This investigation is still ongoing.”

Cook, 32, is charged with possession of a firearm after conviction of a felony, possession of CDS and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $5,000 and she was ordered back to court at 9 a.m. on October 8.

Thatcher, 51, has been charged with assault and battery upon a police officer, obstructing an officer and driving with license cancelled/suspended/revoked. Bond was set at $5,000 and she was ordered back to court at 9 a.m. on October 29.

Deputy Breazeale, in a probable cause affidavit, said he and other officers went to Thatcher’s residence, where Cook was staying, and took her into custody.

Thatcher was not home at the time.

While walking back to his patrol car, according to Breazeale, Thatcher drove into the driveway at a high rate of speed, “drove around our patrol cars and drove towards myself and other law enforcement officers.”

Investigator Kevin Branscum drew his revolver and ordered her to stop, according to the affidavit.The suspect stopped and, after some resistance, was taken into custody.

McIntosh County Democrat

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