Second arrest made in Culpeper home-invasion case
Suspect in Culpeper home-invasion robbery captured at restaurant, then released hours later
BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
Date published: 8/26/2009
BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
Running from the law apparently can make a man hungry.
The suspect who led Culpeper County sheriff's deputies on a merry chase through the briars and brambles near Brandy Station Monday afternoon was arrested without incident while eating an early breakfast at IHOP yesterday.
What's more, 27-year-old Gregory Wallace informed on himself as to his whereabouts, according to authorities. But the strangest part of the whole incident is that the man who was at the heart of an intensive and expensive manhunt was released on $10,000 bond within hours of his capture.
Wallace is believed to have fled on foot after the car in which he was riding ran out of gas and collided with a vehicle driven by Culpeper County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Tash about 1:30 p.m.
Tash and Deputy Terry Graham had been chasing the car for about four miles following the report of a home invasion and abduction on Mount Pony Road.
When the vehicle crashed in the center of Brandy, a man alleged to be Gregory Wallace leaped from the Cadillac STS and made his way across U.S. 15/29. He eluded two-dozen state and local police officers, four K-9 units and two search aircraft all afternoon.
Wallace's cousin, 18-year-old Darryl Wallace of Washington, was arrested at the crash scene. An 18-year-old hostage, who authorities allege had been pistol-whipped and forced at gunpoint to drive the getaway car, was taken to a hospital, where he received four stitches in his forehead.
An intensive search for the suspect believed to be Gregory Wallace continued in the Brandy area until about 6 p.m., when sheriff's investigators toned their efforts down to regular patrols of a 3-mile perimeter. Wallace was nowhere to be found.
Then, according to Culpeper town police Capt. Ricky Pinksaw, one of Wallace's family members called town police Sgt. Tim Chilton shortly before 1 a.m. concerned about a report that indicated Wallace may have been hurt.
Chilton also voiced his concern and that, according to Pinksaw, resulted in a three-way conversation among the sergeant, the suspect and the family member.
"I just wanted to make sure you're OK," Chilton reportedly told Wallace, who allegedly replied, "I'm fine. I'm out here at IHOP."
Within a few minutes, deputies and town police converged on the restaurant just north of the town limits. Wallace, who was in the middle of breakfast, was arrested without incident by town police on an outstanding obstruction of justice warrant in a unrelated case.
Wallace also was charged with possession of cocaine, Pinksaw said.
Neither the Sheriff's Office nor the town police are certain how Wallace made it from the bushes of Brandy Station to the IHOP Restaurant four miles away.
Nor has it been determined how the getaway car, which the abduction victim said he was forced at gunpoint to drive, came to be involved in the incident.
According to Sheriff's Capt. Joe Watson, the Cadillac is registered to neither the victim nor either suspect and has not been reported stolen.
Pinksaw said Wallace was not armed at the time of his arrest, but Watson said Monday that a shotgun had been thrown from the getaway vehicle just before it crashed in Brandy. He said a pistol was found in the car.
All of the goods that were taken in the home invasion, including a big-screen television, were recovered from the Cadillac, police said.
Watson said the victim and the alleged abductors have all stated that they did not know one another, but authorities continue to investigate a possible connection.
"I don't believe this was a random act," Watson said.
As of last night, however, the sheriff and commonwealth's attorney had filed no charges in the Monday incident against Gregory Wallace, who made bail yesterday afternoon.
Darryl Wallace, however, has been charged with robbery, breaking and entering, malicious wounding, using a firearm in commission of a felony and abduction. He is being held without bail pending a court hearing today.
On March 3, 2008, town police arrested Gregory Wallace and charged him in connection with a shooting near the Head Start program school. A jury found him not guilty of shooting in public during this past June 24.
At the same time, however, he entered a plea agreement on possession of a firearm while in possession of drugs, according to court records.
The records show Wallace was sentenced to four years on that charge, with all but three months suspended. It is unclear how or when he served that three-month jail sentence.
The Monday incident is still under investigation and Watson said that more charges may be filed.