SALT LAKE CITY -- A manhunt for a serial car thief leads to a day of police chases and the evacuation of a Home Depot.
Customers were told to evacuate the Home Depot at 2100 S. 300 West Wednesday morning after a witness spotted a wanted man, Travis McDonald, 31, in the store. At approximately 8 a.m. cops trapped McDonald in a stolen truck on a cul-de-sac in West Valley City but he managed to get away.
"They had him cornered at one time,” said Charlie Roberts, spokesperson for Utah’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division. “(They) had three cars there. He's a desperate individual, he ran over a lawn, a stop sign and the pursuit continued."
Police say McDonald left the stolen Ford F-350 in a ditch near the international center with a rifle in it. Moments later, they believe he stole another vehicle, a utility truck from a nearby business.
"He drove through the gate and we were able to pick him up again," said Lt. Allan Shinney
Traffic cameras captured the chase on the State Route 201 and Redwood Road. The truck was later found near the Salt Lake Home Depot but there was no sign of the suspect.
For cops, it was only the beginning of a goose chase. They searched a Salt Lake City motel, then a mobile home park after a tip from the suspect's grandfather.
"There were men out here in tactical uniforms with assault rifles and everything," said witness Michael Cady.
However, Travis McDonald managed to elude police as he's done for the past month.
"It's pretty frustrating, this started a month ago. About three weeks ago at some apartments on the west side of town he tried to run over two of my officers," Shinney said.
Police say McDonald has a record that includes drug and weapons charges.
"I think he's got a narcotics problem and we have his pictures before and after and he has some substance abuse issues," Shinny said.
Investigators think he may have been high during the chase and could also be armed.
"(We’re) Still looking for him. He's a dangerous individual," Roberts added.
Police are hoping tips from the public can lead to McDonald’s capture and his family members are working with authorities to locate him.