Police: Teen misidentified in crime spree arrests, charges to be - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Police: Teen misidentified in crime spree arrests, charges to be dropped

Posted: Updated:
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charges will be dropped against a Charlotte teenager who was accused in a breaking and entering that led to a chase. He was initially arrested and charged, but his family maintained that he wasn't involved in the incident.

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, detectives contacted the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office seeking to have the charges dismissed against 18-year-old Milton Dunlap.

Dunlap was among five people arrested last week after a high speed chase through Charlotte.

His mom Kim Richardson told WBTV Wednesday night, they're relieved the teen's name is being cleared.

"I'm glad police came to a quick resolution but it wasn't quick enough," said Richardson. "It's like been a roller coaster ride. My worst day and my best day."

Police spotted a black SUV they believed was connected to a string of break-ins, last Tuesday. Officers tried to pull the SUV over on Tuckaseegee Road near State Street in northwest Charlotte, but the vehicle sped away.

The pursuit ended in the Colony Acres subdivision off Nations Ford Road in south Charlotte.

That's the neighborhood where Dunlap lives with his family.

According to his family, Dunlap left his home to get gas and was rounded up with a group near his home. 

The teen recalls the several days his spent in jail as "three long, tough --apples and cake--days."

The apples and cake is all Dunlap said he ate while behind bars. He admits the jail time took its toll.

"When I first realized that I had to take the mug shot, it just broke me down," he said. "You begin to question yourself. If you like -- it's crazy, like a big old mind game. And I'm just glad it's over with."

The evidence supporting Dunlap's innocence came from friends and family members who had a series of texts and emails. One went to his mother and saying there were cops all over the house and another included a photo with the message.
 
"A trooper from Highway Patrol identified Milton Dunlap as an occupant of the vehicle," a statement from Charlotte police stated last week. "The trooper observed Dunlap jump from the vehicle and run into a nearby home.  A CMPD officer also observed Milton Dunlap run into the home.  Dunlap was arrested a short time later."

Wednesday morning that trooper stated he misidentified Dunlap after reviewing video surveillance which recently became available.

Police say detectives met with Dunlap's family . Evidence was presented that indicated he was not involved or present in the breaking and entering cases or vehicle pursuit that occurred.

Additionally, detectives say there was no physical evidence including DNA, fingerprints or video surveillance connecting Dunlap to any of the crimes.

A CMPD Patrol Major and Division Commander met with Dunlap and his family to discuss the new evidence and explain the chain of events that led to Dunlap's misidentification and subsequent arrest. The CMPD and SHP are working closely with the District Attorney's Office to have all of the charges dismissed and expunged.

Police said they fast tracked their own evidence gathering to see if a mistake was made. They reviewed cameras located throughout Charlotte.

"We were actually able to locate a good snapshot of the driver and a close up of that driver," said Deputy Chief Doug Gallant, " That's how we were able to determine that Mr. Dunlap was not the driver of that vehicle."

Dunlap's court ordered electronic monitoring device has also been removed. "At the end of the day, it's off and I'm free," he said at press conference Wednesday evening.

His mother says they have not decided whether to take legal action against CMPD>

"If you ask tomorrow or the next day or the next day, maybe that will change but right now I'm just happy he's home," Richardson said.

Police said they are still investigating. Four other people are facing charges in this case.

This is still an active investigation. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or visit the Crime Stoppers mobile app website at http://charlottecrimestoppers.com/

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved

Powered by WorldNow