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CUMMING, Ga. (AP) — A shoplifting call at a Home Depot in Georgia escalated into a manhunt and an arrest in a sewer system, police said.

Workers at the Cumming store confronted a man who tried to steal copper wire Tuesday morning, but he ran outside and hid in the parking lot after officers were called, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Police Chief David Marsh said people often steal the wire so they can turn it in for recycling and get the weight value.

Officers saw the man when he got into his car, but he sped off onto Georgia Route 400 when they tried to pull him over. Marsh said the chase was called off because of traffic, but the man then crashed after losing control of his vehicle and hitting the guardrail.

"We're not really sure why (he crashed). I don't know if he was impaired. I'm not sure what the deal was," the chief said, according to the newspaper.

The man jumped over the guardrail and went into a development that was in the early stages of construction. The sewer was the only part that was completed.

The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office joined the search, and a deputy asked construction workers for a map of the system. Authorities stationed someone at each entry and waited for the man to come out.

They waited about 20 minutes and were about to release a K-9 when the man surfaced "kind of like whack-a-mole," Marsh said.

The 24-year-old was charged with theft by shoplifting, fleeing or attempting to elude for a felony offense, and drug offenses.

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