SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A South Charleston police officer used some instinctive police work, a series of networking and a little luck to apprehend a suspect in a rash of robberies across South Charleston, Charleston and Cross Lanes.
Michael Beavis was arrested Friday night on the banks of the Monongahela River in Morgantown. South Charleston Patrolman Brittany Fisher had been on his trail for several days.
“We were speaking with people who may have known where he was, but he started threatening suicide and saying he was going to commit suicide before we caught him,” she said. “At that point, when he started threatening his life we started pinging his cell phone.”
The first series of pings placed Beavis in a wooded area around Elkview. Fisher and several South Charleston officers along with Kanawha County deputies went to the area in the middle of the night and conducted a search. They were unsuccessful in locating him. Fisher said it’s possible Beavis was able to see their lights in the dark and avoid detection.
“The next morning we pinged his phone again and he was behind Stansbury Hall in Morgantown,” she said.
Fisher is friends with a member of the WVU Police Department and contacted him to check it out. The officer, along with officers from the Morgantown Police Department, went to the riverbank and found Beavis.
“He was down there asleep and actually had a bunch of the stolen items on him when they caught him,” she said. “I’m saying he would have ran if he had been awake. He has a big past of fleeing from officers and a big past of stealing cars, breaking into cars, and breaking into everything. Where he was asleep, he really didn’t have a chance.”
Among the stolen items police found with Beavis was a bicycle which had been stolen from South Charleston. Fisher believes he may have stolen a pickup truck to get out of town.
“Elkview had a vehicle reported stolen then next morning after we were there,” she said. “It was a pickup truck, so he could have thrown it in the back and headed up to Morgantown that fast.”
Beavis was arrested on two felony charges which stemmed from stolen credit cards being used for purchases, but Fisher said he’s facing numerous other charges which will be filed in the days ahead. He’s lodged in the North Central Regional Jail and will soon be transported back to Kanawha County.