St. Charles chase nabs suspect in 94 Bait & Tackle Shop ‘bath salts’ theft
By: Michael R. Smith
After a morning manhunt June 25, Wentzville Police and the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department nabbed a suspect in a theft of “bath salts” from the 94 Bait & Tackle Shop in Weldon Spring.
Bath salts is a generic name for products which are synthetic forms of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, explained St. Charles County Sheriff Tom Neer.St. Charles County banned bath salts last year.
The chase and manhunt began about 6:30 a.m. Monday morning after the white suspect entered the bait shop, which sits on the northwest corner of I-64 and Hwy. 94. The suspect shoved a clerk, grabbed a box of the bath salts, then fled west on the I-64 toward Wentzville.
Neer said that police had a clear identification of the suspect as well as his vehicle license plate number from the clerk and a customer who was entering the store as the man fled. County sheriffs intercepted the suspect’s vehicle near Winghaven Boulevard and pursued the suspect along I-64 and US 61 to an area north of Wentzville.
The suspect—who is not being identified as the investigation continues—fled the vehicle near the Bedford Falls subdivision, entered a wooded area, and eluded police for several hours. Neer said that throughout the morning residents of the area reported seeing a man moving in and out of the tree line.
About 1:30 p.m. the suspect was apprehended by Wentzville police officers, Neer said. That department posted several charges against the suspect then turned him over to county sheriffs for additional charges.
Neer described the stolen product as “bath salts,” a name for products which are synthetic drugs. “If they are bath salts, then the shop owner could be charged,” Neer said.
Bath salts — also called fake cocaine — can produce hallucinations, an intense high, and incite anger in users. The St. Charles County Council banned bath salts in April 2011. The penalty for possession is 1-year of jail time, a $1,000 fine, or both.
However, Neer said Monday night that he wasn’t sure police had recovered the stolen product. If they have it, he said, it will take “three to five days to analyze it depending upon the crime lab’s work load and other priorities.”