Authorities defend high speed chase

June 2, 2011 5:34:53 PM PDT
The Raleigh Police Department and the Highway Patrol are defending their actions to pursue shoplifting suspects Wednesday.

The chase went from Raleigh to I-40 to Durham at speeds up to 100 miles per hour.

The incident began with a detective following two men who were seen running from a tech store. The owner of the store called 911.

According to the store owner, the suspects stole two camera lenses.

A Raleigh officer in a marked car joined the detective and that's when the chase officially began. The two suspects were in a SUV with a getaway driver.

Moments later a supervisor demanded to know why his officers were chasing, just over 60 minutes and during rush hour.

When the supervisor learned the pursuit was for a shoplifted camera lens, Raleigh officers were told to stop pursuing the suspects. By that time, the Highway Patrol was involved and the chase continued at speeds up to 100 miles per hour from Raleigh to east Durham.

The chase ended in Durham along Pettigrew Street and the Highway Patrol learned the robbery was really a larceny. The suspects haven't been seen since.

People along the chase route were not happy to be put in harm's way, especially for shoplifting.

Investigators want the public's help finding the three suspects. They were traveling in an older model blue, Jeep Cherokee. They all are in their early 20s and around 6' tall. They were wearing khaki color pants and shorts with green shirts.

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