Updated: Lebanon Police Say Suspect in Custody Following Overnight Manhunt

  • Michael Ray Laws

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/3/2017 4:22:26 PM
Modified: 8/4/2017 12:10:04 AM

Lebanon — A suspect is in custody following an attempted robbery, car chase and manhunt that crisscrossed multiple Upper Valley towns on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, according to police.

Michael Ray Laws, 32, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., has been charged with felonious attempted robbery of the Family Dollar store on Route 4 in Enfield and receiving stolen property, as well as several misdemeanors, according to a statement from Lebanon police.

Authorities apprehended Laws around 11:30 a.m. on Thursday on Hanover Street in Lebanon after officers were notified of a suspicious male near the Listen Center, Enfield Police Chief Richard Crate said in an interview.

Laws, who managed to elude police on Wednesday night, was taken into custody without incident.

Police said security camera footage obtained from area businesses linked Laws to the alleged robbery and subsequent chase.

“The information we received from the community and a coordinated effort (by police) resulted in the successful apprehension of this individual,” Crate said.

The cashier at the Family Dollar told police a man came in around 7:30 p.m. and demanded money; he said he “didn’t want to have to shoot her,” according to Crate.

The clerk told police she saw what she thought was a firearm in the man’s pocket, but he did not brandish a weapon.

The clerk didn’t hand over any money to the man — who was wearing a surgical mask when he came into the store — so he left, according to police.

Authorities said at that point Laws drove about 9 miles east to the Dollar General in Canaan, where someone called police and reported a suspicious person in a black Honda Civic in that store’s parking lot. When police arrived to confront the man, he allegedly led them on a chase into Grafton and Danbury.

Crate said the suspect’s car almost hit Danbury Police Chief David Suckling head-on along Route 4 before it turned around and headed back west. State police joined several Upper Valley agencies in the pursuit.

According to police, Laws took back roads as he headed west, avoiding spike strips police had set up along Route 4 to disable the vehicle.

Around 9:40 p.m., Laws allegedly ditched the Civic on LaPlante Road, not far from the Lebanon Middle School, and took off on foot, Crate said.

Residents were on alert while nearly 30 area police officers, K-9 units and a police helicopter canvassed the area around LaPlante Road, according to authorities.

That was the last time police had contact with Laws until he was apprehended Thursday morning.

A search of the Civic that Laws allegedly was driving turned up a “replica” handgun, which is used to describe fake guns made to look identical to real handguns. The car was reported stolen out of Worcester, Mass., police said.

In addition to the felony charges, Laws will be arraigned on counts of disobeying an officer, reckless driving and possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle. He also will be arraigned on a fugitive of justice charge.

When Lebanon police searched the National Crime Information Center database, they found that Laws has an extraditable warrant for his arrest on a criminal sexual conduct charge out of South Carolina. On Thursday, Mello said he didn’t know much about that charge.

The time of Laws’ arraignment, scheduled for this morning, wasn’t immediately known.

Asked why Laws was in the Upper Valley, Crate said he told police he was looking for work.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248. Web editor Maggie Cassidy contributed to this report.

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