Alleged car thief caught with handgun, drugs
An alleged car thief was arrested on multiple felony charges Thursday morning after being chased down by the car’s owner and Hot Springs police and reportedly being found with a gun and drugs.
Tyler Allen Baker, 28, who lists a Greenwood Avenue address, was taken into custody around 9 a.m. and charged with simultaneous possession of drugs and a firearm, punishable by up to life in prison, possession of meth with purpose to deliver, punishable by up to 10 years, two counts of possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver and one count of theft of property, punishable by up to six years.
Baker, who also had a misdemeanor warrant for theft of property, was being held on zero bond and appeared Friday in Garland County
According to the probable cause affidavit on the felony charges, shortly before 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Officer Jason
Greene spotted a yellow Ford Ranger truck eastbound on East Grand Avenue approaching Central Avenue that suddenly made an illegal turn, cutting off several other vehicles, as it pulled into the Exxon, 1200 Central.
A check of the Ranger’s license plate showed it returned to the same address of a man who had reported another vehicle, a 2006 Chrysler Pacifica, stolen earlier that morning. The male driver of the Ranger quickly ran
into the Exxon station.
Greene turned around and positioned himself to watch the vehicle when the driver of the Ranger exited the Exxon following a white male, later identified as Baker. When the driver saw Greene he began waving his arms for the officer to come over. At that point, Baker also saw Greene and began running south on Central with the driver in pursuit.
Officers, using lights and sirens, joined the pursuit and apprehended Baker in the parking lot of the Econolodge, 1204 Central, and the Ranger driver told Greene Baker was the one he had seen driving his stolen Chrysler.
Asked if he had anything on him, Baker reportedly stated he had drugs in his pocket. A plastic baggie of alleged meth, two pill bottles with 17 darvocet pills and 50 propoxyphene pills, both a schedule IV controlled substance, were found in his pockets along with the keys to the stolen Chrysler and a debit card belonging to the car owner.
When questioned later at the police department, Baker allegedly admitted to stealing the Chrysler, valued at $1,500, from a residential area earlier that morning. He also admitted a .32-caliber pistol that was found in the Chrysler belonged to him.
According to the affidavit on the misdemeanor theft charge, on Nov. 20, shortly before 4 p.m., Officer Taylor Gates responded to Amazing Finds, 4332 Central Ave., where an employee told him that around 3 p.m. she noticed a silver Seiko wristwatch, valued at $50, was missing from the store’s inventory.
She said she had seen the watch earlier in her shift. She reviewed security footage which showed a white male concealing the watch and leaving the store shortly before 1 p.m.
On Nov. 21, Baker allegedly posted the same watch for sale on a social media marketplace. Gates was able to compare a driver’s license photo of Baker to the male seen taking the watch in the video and confirm it was him.