WAYNE — A man who stole a vehicle in Antelope County on Thursday morning was apprehended later in the day in Wayne County after a pursuit across several counties.
Cody Thomas, public relations officer for the Nebraska State Patrol, said the suspect’s vehicle made contact with multiple law enforcement vehicles.
Robert Wagle, 35, Summerville, South Carolina, was arrested for felony flight to avoid arrest, willful reckless driving, assault and possession of a stolen vehicle. Additional charges are pending. Wagle was lodged in Antelope County Jail, Thomas said.
Several law enforcement agencies in Northeast Nebraska were alerted to be on the lookout for a stolen 2017 Dodge Ram pickup after it had been spotted in the area multiple times Thursday morning, Thomas said.
At about 1:45 p.m., law enforcement received a report that the truck was on Highway 15 south of Wayne. Multiple agencies pursued the vehicle, which made contact with units from both the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and the Wayne Police Department during the pursuit. The suspect was able to flee south of Wayne.
Prior to that, several schools in Antelope County were put on alert as a precaution when the vehicle had been reported stolen.
Mike Sanne, principal of Clearwater Public School, confirmed the school went on lockout for about 45 minutes on Thursday. During that time, students were free to move throughout the building but were not allowed to go outside.
"We more closely monitor the entrances and vehicles on our property or on the road out front," Sanne said.
At about 2:10 p.m., a trooper located the stolen truck on 575th Avenue, about five miles south of Wayne. The trooper notified the NSP Aviation Support Division, which tracked the vehicle from the air as it entered a minimum maintenance road. The pickup then became stuck near 851st Road and 575th Avenue, Thomas said.
Wagle fled on foot and was located a short distance from the vehicle by an patrol dog.
The investigation involved the sheriff’s offices of Antelope, Madison, Stanton, and Wayne counties, the police departments from Neligh, Norfolk and Wayne, as well as the Nebraska State Patrol. The investigation is ongoing.