Suspect in crime spree along I-81 still on the lam

Rain Smith • Jul 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Virginia authorities have scaled back their search for a man believed to have gone on a crime spree spreading from Knoxville to Salem.

A possible suspect, Jason Bradley Davis, 29, whose last known address is in Radford, may have robbed a Kingsport convenience store at gunpoint early Wednesday morning.

Davis is also wanted by the Salem Police Department in Virginia on robbery and bomb threat charges stemming from the Monday robbery of a BB&T bank, and by Marion police for the Wednesday robbery of another convenience store.

A search for the suspect began early Wednesday morning on Route 11, just south of Wytheville. A trooper and Wytheville police officer spotted a truck matching the description of that used in the Marion robbery just 30 minutes prior.

When police attempted to initiate a stop, the suspect pulled the truck — which Virginia State Police say was stolen from the Knoxville area — to the side of the road. He then fled on foot, and a daylong search using K-9s and a helicopter was unable to find him.

Though the search has been scaled back, there will still be plenty of law enforcement saturating the area. Sgt. Michael Conroy of the VSP noted that this weekend marks Operation Air, Land and Speed, in which state police step up their presence along Interstate 81 — both on the ground and in the air.

“By coincidence, today and tomorrow we’ll have additional troopers along the interstate anyway,” Conroy said Thursday. “(The suspect) bailed out basically within sight of the interstate, so they can certainly quickly respond to any potential sightings or suspicious activity.”

The Kingsport robbery that investigators are connecting with the suspect occurred about 1:50 a.m. Wednesday. A man entered the Roadrunner Market on Carolina Pottery Drive with a bandanna over his face and semiautomatic pistols in each hand.

Kingsport police said the robber made an employee take him to the office and then the cash registers. He took several lottery tickets and an undisclosed amount of cash then left in the Chevrolet pickup that was later ditched in Wythe County.

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