A pair of burglars managed to elude authorities during a two-county manhunt on Thursday.
The victims have recovered much of their property, even if they had to fetch it themselves. Others took the law into their own hands.
Mark Wichelt was on his way out the door when he noticed someone running from his garage. At first he thought it was just a neighbor kid goofing around, but soon realized he had interrupted a burglary.
The thief ran to a waiting pickup and it peeled out. Mark noticed they took the long way out of the neighborhood so he got in an SUV and raced to cut them off. "They sped around me. I couldn't block the entire street so they sped around me so I followed them for awhile and called 911 while I was following them."
Wichelt followed the burglars as long as he could, then let authorities take over. K-9 units were brought in as well as the Omaha police helicopter to track the suspects.
The manhunt lead authorities to the northern edge of Douglas County where there are very few places to hide. Along the way the thieves threw things out of the vehicle leaving the victims with a lot of cleaning up to do.
Somehow the suspects managed to elude authorities in Washington and Douglas counties as well as the Bennington police.
The close call may have scared the thieves straight. Mark believes they were young, but their faces were covered. If they are brazen enough to return they will find a neighborhood more prepared to stop thieves in their tracks.
The thieves were wearing stocking caps and sunglasses. The Douglas County Sheriff's Department says during the burglaries they grabbed lightweight items, committed a little vandalism and checked to see if they could steal a vehicle.