U.S. Marshals arrest newspaper box theft suspect

Published 3:56 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Local and federal agencies teamed up Feb. 23 to arrest a man suspected of stealing dozens of newspaper boxes throughout the Birmingham metropolitan area.

U.S. Marshals, Bibb County Sheriff’s deputies, Brent, Centreville, Tuscaloosa and West Blocton police officers arrested 44-year-old Christopher Ballard, of 9179 Shelby County 22 in Montevallo, after a brief vehicle chase on U.S. 11, said U.S. Marshal Martin Keely.

Ballard fled officers after they tried to stop him shortly before 4 p.m. Feb. 23, but ran his green sport utility vehicle off the road near Centreville shortly after the pursuit began, Keely said.

“We arrested him about 4 p.m.,” Keely said. “The chase was real short.”

Ballard was charged with second-degree theft of property, and is currently being held in the Jefferson County Jail on a $250,000 bond.

Officers believe the suspect may have been involved in stealing more than 100 newspaper boxes in northern Shelby County and other parts of the Birmingham metro area, according to a press release from the Hoover Police Department.

“I think Hoover was hit pretty hard by this guy,” Keely said, noting newspaper boxes were also reported missing in Anniston, Oxford and Tuscaloosa.