Armed Man Who Forced Closure Of Pisgah Forest Captured

The manhunt for an armed and dangerous man in the Pisgah National Forest is over, police said.

The six-day manhunt for an armed suspect that has left much of Western North Carolina in fear appears to be over.

Authorities detained Phillip Michael Stroupe, 38, in McDowell County, early Thursday morning, a 4 a.m. press release said.

Stroupe caused the closure of Pisgah Forest for almost four days until authorities got a tip from a motorist that he had moved into Mills River.

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No details have been released about how Stroupe was able to make it to McDowell County, or where he was going.

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Police also have not released any information about Thomas Bryson, 68 of Mills River, the man Stroupe is suspected of kidnapping in Wednesday morning as he went to pick a family member up for a doctors appointment.

Bryson was last seen wearing a dark-colored plaid shirt, brown cargo shorts and sneakers and driving a silver Honda Ridgeline with a license tag reading AAR-7345.

The truck was described as having a West Henderson High School Falcons tag on the front of the vehicle and a West Henderson magnetic sticker on the back, police said.

Bryson was reported missing after he didn't show up to pick up a family member for a doctors appointment. Police declined to say how close the distance was between Bryson and the pickup location, only saying it was "not far."

Bryson is described as being 5 feet 9 inches tall, 175 pounds with a gray mustache and hair.

The last known sighting of Bryson was around 8:35 a.m. Wednesday, when he left his home. Authorities declined to say whether he was carrying a cell phone when he was last seen, only that they were using all available resources to track him down.

The manhunt for Stroupe began when Transylvania County law enforcement noticed a Stroupe driving a vehicle suspected of being used in a breaking and entering reported in Mills River.

Stroupe, 38, led officers on a brief vehicle chase before fleeing into a wooded area on foot, touching off the manhunt. He robbed a man of his mountain bike at gunpoint later Saturday, police said. He was carrying a black .38 Special revolver, Queen said.

A motorist reported seeing him in the North Fork of the Mills River near the town of Mills River, and footprints and scuff marks were found somewhere behind the Mills River Ingles. K9 units and foot patrols lost track of the man sometime Wednesday evening.

Stroupe was described by police as 5 feet 8 inches tall with a small build and several distinct tattoos including one on his neck and a swastika on his abdomen. 

Copyright 2017 Asheville Citizen-Times


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