Josey Wilson
Josey Wilson
July 10, 2013

Two Carroll-area teens who allegedly eluded sheriffs' deputies three times in less than 24 hours this week - once in a high-speed chase - were finally arrested Tuesday night for a string of vehicle thefts.

Zachary M. Wailes, 19, of Breda, and Josey M. Wilson, 19, of Carroll, face felony theft and burglary charges for the alleged crime spree. Other charges are pending, Carroll County Sheriff Doug Bass said.

Wailes and Wilson were arrested at a Grand Junction house about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday after someone who lives there tipped off law officers about their location. It was the fourth attempt to apprehend the teens.

The first was about 11 p.m. Monday, when three Carroll deputies - acting on another resident's tip - waited for Wailes and Wilson at a rendezvous spot north of Carroll.

The pair were wanted for allegedly stealing a pickup truck, camper and generator early this month in Carroll County, Bass said.

"We had a high-speed chase with the pickup, and a deputy saw that it was them," Bass said. "But we lost the vehicle on gravel roads" near the North Raccoon River.

Bass did not know how fast the truck went, but he said traffic on the gravel roads made it difficult for deputies to follow the truck and allowed the teens to escape. The chase lasted about 20 minutes and spanned several miles.

Then at midnight, Calhoun County Sheriff William Davis and two of his deputies went into a tree grove several miles northwest of Lake City, where someone had reported that the stolen camper was parked without permission.

"They heard us coming," Davis said. "They took off on us. On foot. We were not able to catch them."

Davis' office sent out a Code Red alert, which warned area residents who subscribe to the alerts not to leave keys in their vehicles, but the teens were allegedly able to steal an all-terrain vehicle and, later, a car near Rockwell City to escape.

The Code Red alert incorrectly said the two had a weapon and were dangerous, which put residents on-edge.

"We had 119 calls from people by the afternoon," Davis said. "Some thought that murderers had escaped from a correctional facility. ... Holy cow. Where'd all that come from?"

The Grand Junction resident phoned a tip about the teens about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and said Wailes and Wilson planned to go swimming at Spring Lake Spring Park, between Grand Junction and Jefferson, Greene County Sheriff Steve Haupert said.

A parks worker saw the truck at the park.

"We had myself and deputies and the Carroll County Sheriff and several of his deputies responding," Haupert said. "We converged but did not find anyone in the swimming area."

It's not clear how Wailes and Wilson escaped, Haupert said, but the Grand Junction resident phoned another tip about 8:50 p.m. and said the teens had returned to his house.

"One young man at this residence had gone to school with them, but they weren't close friends," Haupert said. "They were trying to impose on them by staying at the residence."

Wailes and Wilson had attended the Carroll Learning Center, the Carroll Community School District's alternative high school, according to the Daily Times Herald archive.

Deputies surrounded the Grand Junction house, and Wailes and Wilson allegedly tried to escape out a back door.

"When they saw what they were confronted with they immediately went back in the house and hid in an upstairs bathroom, where we arrested them" about 9:45 p.m., Haupert said.

The teens were held at the Greene County jail this morning but were expected to be transported to Carroll County.

Unrelated arrest warrants for Wailes and Wilson were outstanding in Carroll and Shelby counties before the string of thefts for failing to appear in court for drug and trespassing charges, respectively, according to court records.

Wailes has been convicted twice of possession of a controlled substance this year in Carroll County - including in June - and has another similar charge pending.

Wilson was convicted of trespassing last year and has failed to pay more than $11,000 in restitution, court records show.

The first-degree theft charges filed against the teens in Carroll County today are punishable by up to 10 years in prison if they are convicted.