Fugitive captured on I-20|[9/17/06]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 17, 2006

A fugitive wanted in Pennsylvania for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman at knifepoint was captured in Vicksburg early Saturday morning, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

Ferlanda O. Thomas, 22, was arrested at 4:30 a.m. after the U.S. Marshals Service told Warren County authorities the suspect might be on Interstate 20 headed to Louisiana.

&#8220Deputies spotted the vehicle westbound on I-20, and a team of deputies stopped Thomas at about the 4-mile marker,” Pace said. &#8220He was taken into custody without incident.”

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Thomas was at the Warren County Jail Saturday awaiting extradition.

Federal agents, Pennsylvania authorities and sheriff’s investigators had been in contact since Friday, a day after the kidnapping was reported. Pace said.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, Thomas was wanted in Whitehall, Pa., where state police say he grabbed a woman from behind in a mall parking lot, put a knife to her neck and drove away with the woman in her 2006 GMC Denali.

&#8220This was a very serious crime,” Pace said. &#8220The victim escaped from this individual only by jumping out of a moving vehicle. She is in a Pennsylvania hospital in serious but stable condition.”

Thomas has been charged in Pennsylvania with kidnapping, armed robbery of a motor vehicle, two counts of aggravated indecent assault, reckless endangerment, terrorist threats and unlawful restraint.

&#8220Pennsylvania authorities faxed us copies of the warrants this morning,” Pace said.

He said he did not know when the U.S. Marshals Service would take custody of Thomas.

&#8220The Marshals Service is the lead on this. I would anticipate that it would be fairly soon, but I have not been given a specific timetable.”

Although Warren County Deputies Ford Emery, Brad Redditt and Byron Sherwin arrested Thomas without incident, Deputy Anthony Walker was prepared to use stop sticks if he did not yield for their emergency lights, Pace said.

&#8220Walker was deployed just west of the other deputies’ location with stop sticks. However, he did stop, and we have processed the vehicle as a crime scene.”

Pace said according to the U.S. Marshals Service, Thomas was probably headed to Louisiana to see relatives.