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Robbery suspect Dewayne Halfacre finally captured Friday in Whitwell area

POWELLS CROSSROADS, Tenn. — MarionCountyMessenger.com has been able to confirm that the suspect originally wanted for an armed robbery in Rutherford County has finally been captured after five days of evading multiple law enforcement agencies.

The 42-year-old man robbed a convenience store in Almaville, Tenn. last week with an accomplice, 52-year-old Timothy “Timbo” Howell, and has been on the run since Monday after fleeing from police multiple times.

Dewayne Halfacre (left), age 42, and Timothy “Timbo” Howell (right), age 52

The pair made their way to Marion County for unknown reasons after the incident in Rutherford County and were alleged to be involved with an attempted criminal activity near South Pittsburg in the early hours of Monday morning. That’s where the vehicle they were driving was able to be identified. Whitwell Police later spotted the vehicle in their jurisdiction and approached the pair, that’s when they fled.

Police were able to capture Howell and take him into custody, however, Halfacre proved to quite a bit more of a task for law enforcement officers over the days to come and schools were placed on lockdown Monday as the incident unfolded and again Tuesday after Halfacre was once again spotted.

While originally we were given information by officials that the suspect had shot at or exchanged gunfire with a LEO…in addition to stealing a gun from the patrol car and even crashing it, Marion County Sheriff Ronnie “Bo” Burnett says that information was not true.

Burnett said that the suspect and an off-duty, part-time deputy had a confrontation near the deputy’s home Tuesday morning. Halfacre was able to steal his patrol car and flee. Halfacre then abandoned the car after an officer was able to shoot-out a tire and he took off on foot up a hill heading south from Hwy. 283 near the Dollar General in Whitwell.

Schools in Whitwell were closed on Wednesday for the safety of students as the Marion County Sheriff’s Department along with LEOs from other area agencies including Sequatchie County, Hamilton County, Chattanooga Police, Tennessee Highway Patrol and the U.S. Marshals searched the wooded areas surrounding the spot where officers last saw Halfacre, all with no luck. K-9 crews and the THP helicopters equipped with thermal imaging were used in the search on Tuesday and Wednesday, also to no avail.

As of Thursday, the last confirmed sighting of Halfacre had been Tuesday morning in Whitwell. Schools returned to class on Thursday under what Director of Schools, Dr. Mark Griffith, called a “soft lockdown”. Sheriff Burnett made a statement on Thursday that he didn’t feel like Halfacre was still in the Whitwell area but believed that he was still armed and dangerous wherever he was located.

Burnett called off searches both Tuesday and Wednesday nights before scaling-back search efforts on Thursday. Locals from all around the Marion County remained on high alert through the event, many claiming they saw Halfacre in various places around the county, including as far south as the Cedar Grove community near Jasper and the Baptist Hill area between Jasper and Haletown. Halfacre was never found at those locations, however, authorities did check out many of the reports as a precaution.

Photo: Courtesy THP

The first credible lead in days came after the alarm system at the Powells Crossroads Church of God went off early Friday morning. Officers responded and found that the church’s van had been broken into. Pastor Brent Upchurch told the media that it appeared as though the van’s ignition system had been tampered with in an attempt to hotwire the vehicle. That attempt proved unsuccessful. Multiple law enforcement agencies soon were swarming the area, again hot on the trail trying to locate the suspect.

Schools closed Friday in Whitwell as SWAT, K-9 crews, and others continued searching Friday morning along with THP helicopters using infrared thermal imaging technology.

Dewayne Halfacre was finally apprehended without incident around 12:00 PM (Noon) CST on Friday in Powells Crossroads.

At a press conference held on Friday afternoon at the Powells Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department building, Burnett said over 100 law enforcement officers from 17 different agencies assisted and supported in the search. Burnett says several leads were checked out this week, but only one or two were credible. He said the K9s were able to track his scent from the site of the break-in this morning, which helped in his capture.

Burnett says there was also a third party who helped in his capture but he wouldn’t comment on who that third party is or whether or not they were working with Halfacre. He says the TBI is involved with the investigation and would need be the agency to decide whether to release that information or not.

The sheriff says he was found at a vacant house on Hwy. 283 where he turned himself in without incident. He says Halfacre was not armed when he was captured today. When asked, the Sheriff says Halfacre has not been hiding in the house where he was located all week and had spent much time hiding in the woods and areas around Whitwell — moving around a lot — making it difficult for the agencies to find him.

Burnett says Halfacre was physically in good shape upon arrest but told the sheriff “he was starving to death.”

The Sheriff says Halfacre has been cooperative with his department and he is now in custody at the Marion County Justice Center in Jasper. He says that Halfacre will likely face charges out of the Nashville area as well as Ringgold, GA in addition to others across the state.

Stay with MarionCountyMessenger.com as we continue to follow this story and bring you any updates regarding what charges he will face and any other information along the way.




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