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Pastor chases down church van thief

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - A unidentified male led a church pastor and several law enforcement officers on a stolen vehicle pursuit before he was taken into custody in Sallisaw.

According to officials, the pastor of Panama First Baptist Church was inside the church building Tuesday afternoon when he heard the church van start up and leave the parking lot. The pastor jumped into his vehicle and began to follow the stolen van.

The pastor reportedly contacted multiple law agencies while in pursuit but none were in the vicinity and able to intercept the stolen van.

Sallisaw Police were notified that the van was headed toward Sallisaw on Highway 59 South. Sallisaw Police officers spotted the van as it entered city limits and joined in the chase.

The driver of the stolen van entered into a residential area near the Kansas City Southern railroad tracks that run alongside W Port Arthur Ave. The driver left the roadway and attempted to cross the railroad tracks causing the van to become high-centered.

The driver then ran into the storage building of a nearby residence. Law enforcement from numerous agencies including Sallisaw and Panama Police Departments, Sequoyah County Sheriff's Department and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) surrounded the building but the suspect refused to come out.

An OHP K9 was sent in and the man was taken into custody. The driver's name has not been released at this time.

KXMX News Staff

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