Originally created 02/13/98

Police capture man after chase



LANGLEY -- A man arrested three days earlier on a burglary charge wasn't wearing handcuffs when he bolted from investigators Thursday while giving a tour of homes that he claimed to have burglarized.

Police caught up with David Hightower and rearrested him late Thursday afternoon near the corner of Storm Branch Road and Diamond Street, near North Augusta, said Aiken County sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank.

The 41-year-old Gloverville man was charged Monday with first-degree burglary and grand larceny in the theft of guns, jewelry and money from a home on Sudlow Lake Road. He was arrested at a nearby business after being spotted leaving the home, police said.

About 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Mr. Hightower bolted and ran after deputies took him to his mother's Pine Street home to retrieve some stolen items, Lt. Frank said.

Mr. Hightower shucked his orange inmate's jump suit and kept running in his blue plaid boxer shorts, T-shirt and black sneakers, Lt. Frank said. The jump suit was found about 200 to 300 yards from the residence.

Mr. Hightower wasn't handcuffed when he got away. Lt. Frank said he wasn't sure if the inmate was still in his underwear when officers apprehended him.

"He had agreed to cooperate with our investigator and so was with one of our investigators and an investigator with the public defender's office," Lt. Frank said. The Aiken County Public Defender's Office represents Mr. Hightower.

Earlier, Mr. Hightower had pointed out residences to the sheriff's investigator that he said he had broken into and stolen from, Lt. Frank said.

Bennie Williams, investigator with the Aiken County Public Defender's Office, also was present. Public Defender Regina Poteat said she is representing Mr. Hightower.Sheriff's officers, the Aiken Department of Public Safety's bloodhound team and the North Augusta Department of Public Safety set up a perimeter in Langley at Myrtle Street off South Carolina Highway 421, including Edgar Street, Project Road and Piney Heights.

Residents at Valley Mobile Home Park said police swarmed through the trailer park in search of Mr. Hightower, who at one time was thought to be inside one of the homes.

Mr. Hightower may have eluded police initially by getting into a vehicle, Lt. Frank said. He couldn't say if Mr. Hightower drove himself or was with someone else who might have met him.