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Theft suspect who triggered manhunt caught

LAWRENCEVILLE - A suspected car thief who triggered a multi-agency manhunt Friday, running from and eluding swarms of police in broad daylight, is now behind bars, police said.

Police say Jacob Charles Collins, 26, of Braselton, bolted after he was pulled over Friday afternoon in a stolen Jeep Wrangler on Ga. Highway 316. An officer held Collins at gunpoint, but the suspect kept running on foot, ducking police during a land and air search that lasted several hours, an official said.

But Collins' luck reportedly ran out Monday.

A Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department investigator learned a possible address for Collins, and as authorities made their way up Interstate 85 toward Braselton, they were passed by a vehicle fitting the description of Collins' friends' car heading the opposite direction, police said.

Collins, who was a passenger in that vehicle, surrendered to authorities at the scene, Sheriff's Department spokesman Lt. Don Bassett said.

He remains in the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.

Collins wasn't alone when he allegedly ditched the Jeep and ran. His passenger, Danielle Staley, 30, remained with the vehicle and was arrested on a Hall County probation warrant, Bassett said. She remained jailed in Hall County on Tuesday, he said.

Bassett said it was unclear how Collins was able to elude the multi-agency team chasing him Friday, which included K-9 units and a police helicopter.

"It's unknown if someone picked up Collins after he fled the scene," Bassett said.

Collins is charged with felony theft by receiving a motor vehicle, obstruction, a probation violation, failure to appear and driving on a suspended license.

Bassett said additional charges could be forthcoming.

At the time of his arrest, Collins was also carrying prescription medication packaged in a clear plastic bag dotted with dollar signs, according to his arrest warrant.

Collins has been arrested at least 10 times in Gwinnett, dating back to an April 2000 booking for alleged check fraud, according to jail records.

Subsequent charges against him have included fraud, forgery, weapons possession and multiple probation violations.