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Manhunt Underway For Suspect In Donation Jar Theft

Posted at 3:30 PM, Dec 05, 2016

Authorities have asked the public's help in locating a suspect after a donation jar for an 18-year-old fatal fire victim was stolen from a Dickson County restaurant. 

Officials with the Dickson Police Department have issued warrants for Aaron Gooch after he allegedly tried to pay for a meal at the Camino Real Mexican restaurant in Dickson with a stolen credit card. 

Police said he then ran out of the restaurant. Surveillance video showed the suspect grabbing the donation jar on the way out.

Officials with the Humphreys County Sheriff's Office said Gooch was cornered by authorities in Benton County Tuesday, but was able to escape through "extraordinary circumstances." 

He was accused of stealing a 1985 Chevy pickup with license number 638 HKF and making an escape. 

Officials from the McEwen Police Department confirmed that the Benton County Sheriff's Office has issued a "be on the lookout" for Gooch. The alert said Gooch could be armed with a shotgun. 

Anyone with information about Gooch's whereabouts, or who has seen the pickup, has been asked to call 911 emergency dispatch. 

The jar taken from the restaurant had been set up for 18-year-old Nadia Garcia. She died in a fire last week. About $2,000 had already been collected.

McEwen Police officers tracked down Gooch Monday afternoon. They chased his vehicle and later deployed spike strips to stop the car.  

Officers arrested his girlfriend, 24-year-old Courtney White, who was with him. However, Gooch got away when he ran into the woods near Booker Lane, just off of Highway 13 North.

Police said about $220 of the donation money was found inside White’s purse. It has been returned to the restaurant.

There were also several syringes left in the car with blood on the needle. White said Gooch is "hooked" on crystal meth and heroin.

On Tuesday, the manhunt for him continued. According to Camden Police officials Gooch was located in a hotel room at the Best Western off Highway 641 in Camden.

McEwen Police officials said Benton County deputies tried to talk him out of the room and he agreed.  During that time, Gooch had broken off a table leg in the room, and used it to bore a hole into the drywall, connecting Gooch to the adjoining room.

Gooch ran into the next room through the hole in the wall, and when deputies entered the room they thought he was in. He ran out the front door of the room next door, got into a red and white 1984 chevy pickup truck with plate 638 HKF, and sped away, armed with a shotgun.

The last vehicle Gooch was seen in was a red and white pickup truck, but it was found with the engine busted. Police do not knonw where he is.

They asked anyone with information to call the department's tip line at (615) 441-9555.