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July 11, 2019


A man who police say stole one of their police cruisers and led them on a three-county chase has been officially charged.

Samuel Rivera, 27, of Hickory, surrendered near the Lenoir/Jones County line early Thursday.

Police said the man was suicidal and after a hospital evaluation, Rivera was charged today with larceny of motor vehicle, hit & run, reckless driving to endanger, possession of a firearm by a felon, flee/elude arrest with motor vehicle, resist/obstruct/delay a public officer and speeding/exceeding safe speed.

It started around 1:00 a.m. when Jacksonville police say they got a call about a possibly armed man who caused a disturbance at a home in Carolina Forest.

Officers say they spotted Rivera speaking to family members at the McDonalds at Gum Branch Road and Western Boulevard.

Police confirmed the man was armed and say while they tried to de-escalate the situation, Rivers become agitated, crashed his vehicle into another and then sped off.

Officers say, with the help of Richlands police, they chased Rivera on Wiggs Street in Richlands, where they say he eventually abandoned his vehicle and ran off.
While officers deployed K-9s to search for the man, police say he doubled back and stole a Jacksonville Police Department SUV that is used for a K-9.

Police were able to talk with Rivera on the police radio, trying to get the man to end the chase. It continued onto Highway 70 in Lenoir County and police ended up convincing Rivers to surrender near the Lenoir/Jones County line.

He’s in the Onslow County jail on a $32,000 bond.