Department of Natural Resources officers said they spotted Jason Wayne Broome and a female companion about 8:30 a.m. driving along Ridge Road between Georgia Highway 80 and Wrightsboro Road.
They said Broome jumped from his vehicle and fled into nearby woods. The woman was taken into custody. Later police found a car that they think Broome had stolen.
After 10 hours of searching, including leads about Broome's whereabouts in Norwood and Gibson that didn't pan out, officials called it a day about 7 p.m.
Broome, a medium-build white male, is suspected in car break-ins, automobile theft and financial-card fraud cases in McDuffie, Warren and Columbia counties, and in North Augusta.
He was last seen wearing a light blue or white shirt and jeans. He might be armed, police say, and is considered dangerous.
Anyone with information can call McDuffie County dispatch at (706) 595-2145 or 911.