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Burglary suspect uses mo-ped as getaway vehicle
Gainesville man accused of stealing copper wire, tubing
Paul Dylan Gross
Paul Dylan Gross

A Poplar Springs Road resident aided Hall County sheriff's deputies last week in running down a burglary suspect who used a mo-ped as his getaway vehicle.

Authorities have charged Paul Dylan Gross, 19, of Gainesville, with burglary. Gross is free on $10,000 bail, sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said Monday.

He was arrested after a Nov. 8 chase that began on Poplar Springs Road, where a resident saw the suspect crossing his yard on a mo-ped, with copper wire draped across his back and copper tubing strapped to the vehicle.

The driver had left a vacant home next to the resident's home, Wilbanks said.

"Realizing that the wire and tubing had likely been stolen from the vacant home, which was in the process of being demolished, the citizen began following the (suspect) in his own vehicle," Wilbanks said.

The resident later told deputies he was able to stop the mo-ped driver on Candler Road and that the driver told him he took the copper because he "had tickets to pay," then fled again.

The resident picked up the chase again but stopped at Leland and Webb Girth roads, where the burglary suspect evaded him by driving around a commercial facility, Wilbanks said.

By this point, the resident had called 911 and reported the incident, which took place about 12:30 p.m.

Deputies caught up to the suspect on nearby Moore Mills Road. They arrested Gross without incident and took him to the Hall County Jail.

The incident remains under investigation, Wilbanks said.

He added that while the sheriff's office appreciates and encourages people to call authorities to report a crime or suspicious activity, "we generally discourage people from getting directly involved in stopping a crime in progress.

"We don't want someone to get into a situation thinking that they are merely intervening in a property crime or something minor, only for it to escalate into a violent crime against a person," Wilbanks said. "You just never know what's going on with that criminal."

A suspect may be under the influence of drugs, armed or wanted on outstanding warrants, he said.

"We're happy this one ended well, but we're strong advocates of being a good witness," Wilbanks said.