Man crashes stolen U-Haul after leading police on multi-county chase

Man crashes U-Haul truck after stealing from storage units, leading police on multicounty chase

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A man accused of using a U-Haul truck to steal from storage units led police on a multicounty chase on Saturday night.

Gaston County police told Channel 9 they caught the suspect in the act of stealing from storage units at Federal Self Storage in Belmont and that he drove away in a U-Haul truck.

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An officer was doing a routine check when he saw a man loading the U-Haul, and when he approached, the suspect fled.

Police said 40-year-old Mitchell Morrison, of Huntersville, was arrested after he lost control of the truck going over railroad tracks along Old Dowd Road in west Charlotte and landed in a ditch.

(Mitchell Morrison)

Jon Leatherwood, with the Gaston County Police Department, said that type of chase was a first for him.

“The top speed was around 68,” Leatherwood said. “We started chasing the driver from South Point Road (in Belmont) all the way to Wilkinson Boulevard down to Old Dowd Road (in Charlotte).”

Police said Morrison jumped out while the truck was still moving at a slow speed and then led officers on a foot chase before he was captured.

“Probably 20 to 25 minutes into the search, into the wood line, the dog located him,” Leatherwood said.

Police said the stolen items were all things you can sell pretty quickly, including a dirt bike and a mountain bike, among other cargo.

Police don’t know how long Morrison was going through storage units, but they say it was long enough.

“Long enough,” Leatherwood said. “He loaded several items into the back of the U-Haul, including a dirt bike, a mountain bike. It looked like he was in the process of trying to load a John Deere mower.”

Morrison is charged with multiple felonies, including breaking and entering, fleeing to elude arrest and possession of methamphetamine.

Only Channel 9 was there as Morrison was taken into custody.

Officials said he was driving recklessly and at one point was driving 70 mph in a 35 mph zone.

"I have never, ever heard anything like this in my life, to steal from U-Haul,” said Amanda Sanders, who lives nearby. “You'll probably hear someone steal something from a car, maybe, like, (from) a car dealership or something like that, but not U-Haul. That's crazy.”

Morrison is in the Gaston County jail, with his bond set at $50,000.

“We’ll make sure that we have located all the victims and recovered all the property and get the property back to (the) rightful owners,” Leatherwood said.

Morrison has been arrested multiple times in Mecklenburg County for larceny of stolen vehicles, possession of stolen goods and resisting an officer, with his last arrest just nine days ago.

“In the past, Charlotte has had some U-Hauls targeted,” Leatherwood said. “I don’t know if it’s their setup. Maybe it’s an easy item to target. I’m not sure.”

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