ONSLOW COUNTY - A break-in suspect who led officers on a high-speed chase Thursday morning, then took off all his clothes to avoid getting tracked, has been arrested, investigators told NewsChannel 12.
Police said 30-year-old Nicholas Zachary Withrow was wanted in connection with three business break-ins within Jacksonville.
Just after 7 a.m. Thursday, Withrow drove away from Jacksonville, leading officers on a high-speed chase, police said. Investigators said the suspect was driving as fast as 130 mph.
Withrow led police and troopers on a high-speed chase down Gum Branch Road into Richlands, before jumping out of his vehicle at a rural area adjacent to Richlands Primary School, the Highway Patrol said.
Withrow then attempted to hide in a cornfield, police added.
Police said they, along with Highway Patrol troopers and Onslow County deputies, established a perimeter, canvassed the area and deployed K-9 units.
Troopers told NewsChannel 12 Withrow took off all his clothes, thinking he could avoid getting tracked by the dogs.
Authorities searched for the suspect for about an hour before they saw him pop up in the woods behind the Hess station and McDonald's adjacent to Highway 1238, troopers said.
Troopers said when they ran to arrest Withrow, he was completely naked. Trooper Sean Spring tased the suspect in the buttocks and arrested him.
"I wouldn't say it's one of the most bizarre, but I've never had to deal with somebody who decided to take his clothes off and run through the woods naked," said Trooper Spring.
Withrow was hot and tired, and had a lot of scrapes from running through plants, investigators said.
Withrow faces numerous charges, including three counts of felony burglary and felony fleeing to elude. He is being held under a $108,000 bond and is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday morning.