The manhunt for 26-year-old Gary “Josh” Mills of Knox County is still underway, as authorities from numerous agencies work together to track the man they say is a suspect in multiple vehicle thefts occurring in Bell and Harlan counties.
The case began at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, when Kentucky State Police Post 10 received a call of a vehicle theft in Harlan County. Trooper Kenneth Sergent responded to the initial complaint and discovered that a 2010 Ford Mustang had been stolen.
The vehicle was entered into the NCIC data base system as stolen.
According to a report from KSP, at approximately 9:13 a.m. Trooper Chris Pruitt observed a black Ford Mustang travelling south on U.S. 119 in Bell County. Pruitt attempted to stop the vehicle on U.S 119 and the vehicle failed to yield. Pruitt called in pursuit of the vehicle. The operator of the mustang turned right onto Ky 1534 in the Page community of Bell County and Pruitt lost sight of the Mustang. The vehicle was located on E W Miracle Road abandoned a short time later and was then returned back to its owner.
The report goes on to say the next reported incident occurred at 9:30 a.m., when KSP was alerted of a strong arm robbery in the area where the Mustang was located. The owner of the residence said the suspect kicked in her back door and demanded her purse and the keys to her vehicle. While giving the suspect the items, he forced open the door and struck the victim, causing minor injuries to her arm. The suspect then fled the scene in the victim’s 2004 black Chevy Impala. This vehicle was later located abandoned at an ATV park in Bell County.
According to an earlier report, while assisting Kentucky State Police Post 10 Harlan during a manhunt for Mills, Bell County Dispatch received a call of a suspicious vehicle at a home on Pittman Street off of KY 1344.
The caller, a neighbor of homeowner David Deitch, stated he knew the family was not home. First on scene was Sheriff Mitch Williams followed by Bell County Deputy Michael Bradley who met up with Deitch’s nephew, Robert Wilder, who stated that his uncle had gone to church and a Black Jeep with tan top had been stolen from the residence. Deitch later confirmed the theft stating the vehicle also had an Ohio Buckeyes vanity plate on its front bumper.
Williams and Bradley ascertained – through the timing of the event and another attempted theft prior to the Jeep being stolen within a short distance of the residence, caught on surveillance video – that it was Mills who had taken the vehicle. Deputy Joel Quillen also stated there were fresh tracks in the direction of the theft.
Bradley contacted surrounding police agencies to be on the look-out for the Jeep. Mills is still being sought for vehicle theft, fleeing and evading police, forced entry and robbery.
The suspect was identified as Mills by a tip called into Post 10. Mills may be possibly driving a 2002 Jeep Wrangler, black/tan in color at this time. The jeep has an Ohio State Buckeye tag on the front of the vehicle.
Pruitt has obtained an arrest warrant for Mills. Mills is a white male, 5 foot 10 inches and 150 pounds, with red hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing brown coveralls and a camouflage hat. Anyone with information about where he may be located is asked to contact Post 10 Harlan at 606-573-3131. KSP advises the public to not approach Mills if you come in contact with him.
The case is still under investigation by Pruitt. Pineville Police Department and Bell County Sheriff’s Department also have cases on Mills for vehicle theft.