Phillip Michael Stroupe II, the armed fugitive who was the target of a multi-agency search in the Pisgah National Forest that began Saturday, was captured early Thursday in McDowell County, the Henderson County Sheriff's Office said.
The sheriff’s office in Transylvania County, where the search began last weekend after a stolen vehicle that Stroupe was driving did not stop for a sheriff’s deputy, had announced Stroupe’s capture about 5 a.m.
About 9:30, officials in neighboring Henderson County, where the search had been focusing Wednesday, said the capture took place in McDowell County.
“The manhunt suspect Phillip Michael Stroupe II was apprehended early this morning in McDowell County. He is in custody and the investigation is ongoing,” the Henderson sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.
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The post did not what agency had captured Stroupe.
In its earlier post, the Transylvania County Sheriff's Office had said, “Law enforcement throughout western North Carolina has worked throughout the night, and we are grateful for their support and assistance in the suspect's capture.”
At the same time it said said Stroupe was in custody, Henderson officials said they were continuing to look for a 68-year-old man whom they suspected Stroupe had kidnapped.
Thomas A. Bryson was last seen leaving his home in the South Mills River Road area of the county about 8:35 a.m. Wednesday, the notice said.
Wednesday, the search had shifted east into neighboring Henderson County after round-the-clock efforts by ground and air teams earlier in the week.
Law enforcement began looking for Stroupe after a vehicle stolen during a break-in in Mills River in neighboring Henderson County was spotted by a Transylvania County deputy, but would not stop.
Stroupe was identified as the driver and was seen fleeing on a mountain bike, which deputies was stolen at gunpoint during the chase, into the forest after the vehicle was abandoned.
Transylvania authorities said Wednesday they were turning the operation over to Henderson authorities after ground teams had tracked Stroupe toward the North Mills River Recreation Area there.
The sheriff’s office also said the U.S. Marshals Service’s Joint Fugitive Task Force in western North Carolina had joined the hunt for Stroupe.
Stroupe is wanted for an alleged kidnapping in Buncombe County, authorities said.
He was charged in Buncombe County earlier this year with armed robbery,assault with a deadly weapon on a government official, possession of s stolen vehicle, fleeing from police in a vehicle and misdemeanor larceny, according to court records.
He was charged earlier this year in Yancey County with identity theft and fleeing in a vehicle to elude authorities.