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Suspect flees police but can’t outrun canine

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A police dog helped capture a man who ran from police while he was being questioned about a shoplifting incident Monday night at a store on the north side of North Vernon.

Jeffrey Paul Heller, 21, of North Vernon, was found hiding in a ditch and was taken into custody on Class A misdemeanor charges of possession of paraphernalia, attempted theft, resisting law enforcement and making a false identity statement after the incident.

That incident began at 8:38 p.m. Monday when police received a report about a man shoplifting at the Walmart Supercenter, 2410 S. State Road 3.

Officers Todd Beam and Seth Beville responded and talked with Heller in the parking lot, before he fled on foot across State Road 3, also known as Madison Avenue, into a wooded area, according to a news release from Sgt. Andrew Richmond.

Beam and Beville and Jennings County officers Alan Ritchie, Cody Lowe and Wes Thayer established a perimeter around that area. Richmond and K9 Heros arrived and began tracking the suspect.

Richmond said Heros tracked Heller for about tenth of a mile over a fence and into an overgrown ditch filled with tall cattails.

The suspect surrendered once located and confronted by Heros and officers, Richmond said.

Heller, who also faces a Level 6 felony charge of possession of a syringe, was booked into the Jennings County Jail in North Vernon at 9:55 p.m. Monday. He was being held at the jail in lieu of $2,055 bond pending his initial court hearing.

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