An accused Vermont thief who was able to stave off a police manhunt for two weeks by escaping on a fleet of stolen dump trucks, tractors, bicycles and boats was finally caught Thursday — after he was spotted kayaking in a local river.
Eric Edson, 52, was wanted on more than a dozen charges arising from an armed robbery he carried out in a Burlington store on Aug. 24.
“Because of the unusualness of Mr. Edson’s various modes of flight, from cars to bikes to paddle boards to sailboats to tractors, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Mr. Edson is a dangerous person,” Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said the day before the arrest.
The hilarious pursuit kicked off on Aug. 30 when police found Edson passed out inside a running car that matched the description of a vehicle used in a robbery he allegedly committed a week before, police said.
When the officers roused him, Edson allegedly punched the gas and fled the area, striking both cops with the car.
Edons, who has a criminal record, was spotted again that night and led police on a foot chase until he hopped on a stolen bicycle, which he ultimately swapped out for a stolen sailboat on Lake Champlain.
The Coast Guard forced the boat to run aground at the base of the lakeside cliffs, but Edson allegedly proved again how fickle he was and fled for a third time.
The escape artist maintained a low profile for the next week, though cops found a trail of his abandoned stolen vehicles — which included a “full-size John Deere tractor” and dump truck, according to cops.
Police finally caught a lucky break when a tipster reported seeing Edson kayaking on the Lamoille River, roughly 20 miles northeast of Burlington.
“Edson landed the kayak, which is believed to have been stolen, on the northern riverbank,” state police said.
“He then fled from law enforcement on foot, jumped into the river and swam to the southern shore near Georgia Mountain Road. Troopers and wardens arrested him at that time.”
Edson was taken to the hospital for evaluation of injuries “he apparently sustained while he was at large,” police said.
After his discharge, he will be jailed without bail on a warrant from the Vermont Department of Corrections for violating conditions of a previous release associated with numerous underlying charges including burglary and possession of stolen property, according to law enforcement.
His swath of charges includes a felony charge of eluding law enforcement and misdemeanors for the unauthorized use of a boat and two counts of negligent operation of a vehicle.
With Post Wires
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