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Man eludes police
Suspected car thief prompts manhunt

LAWRENCEVILLE - A suspected car thief picked what's probably the worst spot in Gwinnett to run from police Friday.

The man ditched a stolen car and high-tailed it from officers on a heavily traveled stretch of Ga. Highway 316 - practically at the doorstep of Gwinnett police

headquarters and the Gwinnett County Jail - that regularly teems with police cruisers, an official said.

And then he apparently slipped away.

The multi-agency manhunt kicked off about 1 p.m. Friday when Gwinnett police officers pulled over the alleged stolen vehicle at Ga. Highway 316 and Progress Center Avenue.

The driver is described as a white man in his late 20s, with a medium build, wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. He fled the area on foot, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said.

Four hours later, search teams were holding a perimeter and combing the area as a police chopper scouted from the air. K-9 units trolled nearby woods and school buses at the J.G. Dyer Elementary School, which was not in session.

Schiralli dispelled the rumor that the man had escaped from a nearby detention facility.

"People were getting confused," he said. "Because the foot chase was near the jail area, people were thinking it was an escaped prisoner."

Schiralli was unable to provide a description of the stolen vehicle, he said.