TROWBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The two suspects who police were searching for after a chase that spanned two states were taken into police custody in Allegan County late Wednesday afternoon.
Michigan State Police say 44-year-old Anthony Blatz of Indiana and his wife were taken into custody along M-40 near 102nd Avenue in Trowbridge Township, between Gobles and Allegan.
MSP says police first started chasing the pair in their home state, but Indiana police dropped their pursuit at the state line. Later, the Blatzes’ vehicle was spotted by Cass County sheriff’s deputies, who then lost it. MSP troopers then caught sight of the vehicle in Lawton and resumed the chase.
Around 1 p.m., the vehicle had some sort of mechanical malfunction, at which point it left the road and crashed along M-40 near 1st Street just north of Paw Paw. The two people inside — Blatz and his wife — ran off. MSP called in K-9 teams to search for them.
“I heard the sirens of the police cars coming up the road. That’s not unusual around here at all, but what is unusual is when they don’t fade away and you look out your window and they’re driving down your street very, very slow. They were looking for the guy,” area resident Randy Custer told 24 Hour News 8 later. “A little more excitement than we’re used to having here on a day-to-day basis.”
MSP said Blatz called friends from Indiana to pick them up. Around 4 p.m., a trooper pulled the friends over in Allegan County after seeing their vehicle had an Indiana license plate.
“They were pulled over and the suspect pushed the driver of that vehicle from Indiana out of the Jeep,” MSP 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen said.
Police say Blatz then sped away. Troopers and Van Buren County sheriff’s deputies gave chase. Eventually, police were able to use the PIT maneuver (essentially causing a minor car crash) to stop him at the scene along M-40 and take the suspects into custody. No one was injured.
It doesn’t appear the friends whose car Blatz ended up stealing knew Blatz was wanted. MSP 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen told 24 Hour News 8 the second passenger in the car — one of the friends — probably wouldn’t be in any trouble.
M-40 was shut down at 102nd, but has since reopened.
Blatz was wanted on larceny warrants out of Indiana. He also has outstanding warrants for failure to appear in the theft case and a probation violation.
MSP says it will be requesting its own charges linked to Wednesday’s incident.
Indiana State Police and Indiana court records show Blatz has a criminal history dating back to 1995 that includes traffic violations and multiple counts of charges of driving on a suspended license, multiple theft and burglary cases, repeat drunken driving, multiple counts of resisting law enforcement, and escaping.
–24 Hour News 8’s Brady Gillum and Sarah Hurwitz contributed to this report.