A Sarasota, Florida man is in custody following an hours-long manhunt yesterday that ended with his capture naked inside a chicken coop in Kirkwood.
New York State Police arrested 25-year-old John Mehne yesterday evening after a police K-9 apprehended him near the chicken coop on Springer Road.
The bizarre series of events began when Mehne allegedly burglarized a home in Sarasota and stole a 2016 Audi A-5.
Police say Mehne crashed the car into the guide rail along Interstate 81 just north of the Pennsylvania border.
When traffic slowed to drive around the disabled Audi, Mehne allegedly jumped into the back of a pickup truck and stole a ride for a mile and a half before fleeing the highway on foot.
He was later spotted in the area of Colesville, Duell and Springer Roads, sparking an intense manhunt by State Police, Sheriff’s deputies, DEC ATV’s and multiple local K-9 units.
Police say Mehne was first spotted inside a chicken coop, still clothed at the time, on Duell Road, where he threatened the homeowner with an ax and stole his ATV which he later abandoned.
He also allegedly broke into a home on Springer and killed the family dog inside.
Eventually, another homeowner on Springer reported him inside his chicken coop, now naked.
State Police Captain Scott Heggelke says tips from the public made all the difference.
“Reverse 9-1-1 was used. Our public information officer put some information up to the media that you all put out there which is always very helpful. There was a lot of public out there in the area that we spoke about there, in the town of Kirkwood. So they were definitely vigilant and called and got us information.”
Heggelke says the police were also fortunate that a K-9 training exercise involving multiple agencies was taking place nearby.
He says Mehne was acting erratic, but he could not speculate on whether the suspect was on drugs.
Mehne is charged with robbery, possession of stolen property, burglary and aggravated cruelty to animals.
Heggelke is asking the residents in the area to report any damaged or missing items, or the suspect’s clothing, by calling 607-775-1241.