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Stupid Case File for March 11, 2006

Stealing a Car? Don't Stop For Directions!

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A man accused of stealing a car was arrested after stopping to ask for directions at the car owner's father's house, authorities said.

Michael Chapman, 54, is accused of stealing a car Wednesday morning in Hopedale, about 130 miles east of Columbus near the West Virginia state line.

Chapman drove east for three miles, then pulled off state Route 151 needing directions to a nearby town. He stopped randomly at the home of Thomas Eltringham.

Eltringham, 67, gave the directions, but when Chapman drove off, Eltringham called his daughter, fearing that the gold 2001 Buick LeSabre might have been hers, said Capt. R.J. Myers of the Harrison County Sheriff's Office.

Norma Harris told her father that she had started the car, left it running so it could warm up and went back into her house, Myers said.

A patrol officer spotted the car about 25 miles away near Smithfield and chased it. The driver pulled into a driveway, got out and ran away, authorities said. Chapman was found hiding behind an auto sales office and arrested.

Chapman, was being held Thursday at the Jefferson County Justice Center on charges of car theft, drunken driving and driving without a license.

Chapman was released from prison in June after serving time for a 1992 burglary, according to the Steubenville Police Department.


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