High-speed chase with stolen car ends in arrests

| June 26, 2016

Noble Whitfield 38

On Thursday evening at around 7:50 p.m., a Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office deputy assigned to the Interstate Criminal Enforcement (I.C.E.) team stopped a vehicle on Interstate 75 that had been previously reported as stolen in the Orlando, Florida area.

Along with being stolen, the car had also been reported to have been involved in the vehicular assault of a police officer in Largo, Florida.

The car, a 2015 Ford Mustang, initially stopped but when the occupants were asked to exit the vehicle, the driver sped away, traveling south on the interstate. The deputies gave chase, hitting speeds around 125 miles-per-hour and notified law enforcement authorities in Florida and were joined by deputies from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol as the chase continued.

As the chase continued, the occupants tossed out numerous travelers checks that are believed to be counterfeit. These were later recovered by deputies. After entering Columbia County, and being joined by deputies from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, the driver stopped and he and the passenger surrendered.

Sheriff Chris Prine said, “This is yet again another example of the changing trends in crime and the efforts of our I.C.E. team to fight it. Financial crimes not only impact the victim but affects every one of us with the financial losses suffered by citizens and small and large businesses alike.”

The driver, Noble Whitfield, 38, of Orlando, and the passenger, Michael Gopie, 50, of Orlando, were both arrested and taken to the Hamilton County Jail.

Whitfield has been charged with theft by receiving stolen property, fleeing and attempting to elude, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving.

Gopie has been charged with theft by receiving stolen property.

Charges will be filed in Lowndes County for the traffic offenses and possession of the stolen vehicle. Detectives will also be working with Hamilton County detectives as they follow up on the counterfeit traveler’s checks. Additional charges are most likely forthcoming.

Anyone with information about this or any other incident can contact the Sheriff’s Office at {229} 671-2950; or anonymous tips can be provided at {229} 671-2985 or on-line at www.lowndessheriff.com. The Sheriff’s Office is also accessible on Facebook.

Release from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office

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