Before Billy Owens, 36, was arrested Wednesday, he led authorities on a two-day manhunt, allegedly crashing two stolen vehicles while fleeing from police — one belonging to the Cherokee County Water Authority.
Owens was arrested just after 6:15 p.m. near McCollum Road and Highway 36 in Barnesville, said U.S. Marshal Gavin Duffy.
“He was on foot. A highway perimeter guy spotted him exiting a wood line,” Duffy said. “We saw him walk up next to a house, and we saw him touching the house, removing panels.”
Duffy said Owens was on private property when he was finally spotted and arrested. Several agencies were involved in the effort, Duffy said.
“The Lamar County Sheriff had no less than 40 deputies out there helping us,” Duffy said
At least two other arrests have also been made in the incident.
Lakeshia Dawn Bryant, 34, of Marietta was arrested Tuesday at the house where Owens first fled from police in Woodstock, Lt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sherriff’s Office confirmed.
Bryant had a warrant for failure to appear in court in Cobb County, and was charged with hindering the apprehension of a fugitive, Baker said.
Glenda Duncan, believed to be Owens’ girlfriend, was in the vehicle with Owens when Police say he fled from law enforcement in Woodstock, and was arrested by Cherokee Sheriff’s deputies and later handed over to Meriwether County, where she was charged in connection with the alleged stolen vehicle she and Owens were in.
Owens fled on foot Tuesday, and authorities believe he made his way through the woods, starting behind the Millstone Manor neighborhood north of Arnold Mill Road, which is across the street and past the Air Acres airport, south of Arnold Mill Road.
Police say Owens then broke into a Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority facility just south of the private airport, about a mile away from the woods where he originally crashed, said Ryan Sarks, a manager at the facility.
“It was stolen after we closed for the business day. The fugitive supposedly came up out of the woods,” Sarks said. “He had gone across Air Acres airport and up past the property and had gotten in where the wastewater exits our facility after it’s cleaned.”
Sarks said Owens “bent the fencing and climbed in” to the facility, where he “laid in wait in the weeds at the top of the hill until the employees left.” The facility is a 24-hour facility, but most of the workers leave about 5 p.m., he said.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the alleged break-in and theft at the water authority facility.
Owens is then thought to have fled in the dump truck to Lamar County, where authorities attempted to pull over the truck, Sarks said.
Sarks said the tow truck operator bringing the water authority vehicle back to Cherokee told him there appeared to be some damage, which may have occurred after Owens bottomed out and crashed while allegedly fleeing.
The hunt for the wanted man started in Woodstock on Tuesday afternoon when U.S. Marshals tried to arrest Owens at about 3 p.m. on a number of outstanding warrants. When they tried to make the arrest, they say he attempted to run over an officer, and at least one shot was fired by law enforcement before Owens drove away, sources said.
Owens had arrest warrants in Fayette, Merriweather and Pike counties and new charges in Cherokee, authorities said.
Duffy said the Marshal’s Service could not have done its job without local help.
“We’d never be able to catch fugitives like this if it weren’t for our local partners, like Lamar County and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office,” he said.