Man who took gas company truck, led police on chase through Madison County is charged

A 27-year-old man from St. Louis was charged Wednesday with stealing a Spire Inc. pickup truck and leading police on a chase that began in Madison County.

James Harris was charged with stealing of a motor vehicle, stealing from a motor vehicle and first-degree tampering. Harris allegedly took the truck from Virginia Avenue at Bates Avenue in St. Louis on Monday.

Police received a call at approximately 1:10 p.m. for auto theft in the area of Bates and Virginia. A police report says the driver of the energy company’s pick up truck parked and exited the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado at the curb with the motor running.

The unidentified driver of the Spire truck saw the suspect fleeing in his vehicle. The driver was not injured, the police report said, though his cellphone was stolen along with the vehicle.

The stolen truck was spotted by police in Marine, Illinois who pursued him through parts of Madison County. He evaded officers before heading over the Stan Musial-Veterans Memorial Bridge about 4 p.m. The truck then headed toward downtown St. Louis.

At 4:15 p.m., police officers located the vehicle on Garrison Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Officers followed the truck to the 3300 block of Locust Avenue, where cameras on a news helicopter spotted Harris as he stepped from the truck and walked casually down a sidewalk. Police closed in as he crossed the street.

Officers were able to arrest him without incident in the 3400 block of Locust Avenue. The vehicle and the victim’s cellphone were recovered. A police investigation is ongoing, the police report said.