Two juveniles who escaped from the Bradley County Juvenile Center have been taken into custody in Whitfield County after they carried out an armed carjacking in Chattanooga early Tuesday..
Following the carjacking on McCutchen Road, descriptions of the vehicle and suspects were released to all local law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout.
Shortly before noon, the vehicle was spotted by law enforcement officials in the parking lot of the Pilot Gas Station at 244 Connector Three SW, Dalton.
Whitfield County authorities were able to take Abraham Augustin and Memphis Smith, both 16. into custody quickly and without incident.
In addition to the original charges of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated rape, both juveniles will now face charges of felony escape and felony auto theft out of Bradley County.
District Attorney Steve Crump said, “Our office has begun the process to bring the two escapees back from Georgia to Tennessee. Once they are here, our office will move quickly to set dates for a hearing seeking to transfer all of the pending cases against the two escapees to Criminal Court and dispose of their cases as adults. When you commit an adult crime, you should be treated accordingly.”
Additional charges can be expected out of Hamilton and Whitfield Counties due to this morning’s carjacking, officials said.
Bradley County Sheriff Steve Lawson said, “We are relieved that these two individuals are in custody and the general public is once again safe from further criminal acts by these two. It has been a 24/7 effort, and I am grateful for a peaceful outcome.”
Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson said, “We were concerned for the safety of the public, and are grateful that both individuals are back in custody. I appreciate the cooperation between every agency involved in the investigation and search.”
Officials said, "We would like to thank all regional law enforcement agencies who assisted in the mutual aid, search, and capture of both juveniles. Specifically the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, Chattanooga Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, United States Marshal's Service, the Dalton Police Department, and the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Department. Without the help of these agencies, we would not have been able to achieve a safe and peaceful resolution to this incident. We would also like to thank the public for their overwhelming support in this effort. Several tips helped lead authorities in their investigation and search.
They had been spotted at Hamilton Place Mall on Saturday. However, they got away.
The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office announced a $1,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Abraham Augustin and Memphis Smith, both 16. Cleveland Police Chief Mark Gibson and Bradley County Sheriff Steve Lawson have committed $500 from each department towards the total reward of $1,000.
Both juveniles escaped from the Bradley County Juvenile Detention Center shortly before 8 p.m. on Friday.
They were seen by an off-duty police officer at the mall.
The stolen vehicle they were initially traveling in was located and recovered.
Authorities had warned that they should be considered armed and dangerous.