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Convicted felon arrested after fleeing state, arrested for stolen firearm

Bunn appears in fed court today
Faces charges of possessing firearm by convicted felon, possessing stolen firearm

By John L. Ross

November 6, 2012

"Catch me."

That's what a Louisiana man said he was thinking before Corbin Police began a high-speed pursuit along I-75 last Monday.

Thomas William Bunn, 26, of Folsom, La., faces Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram in federal court in London today to answer charges of possessing a firearm by a convicted felon and possessing a stolen firearm.

According to an affidavit submitted by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent Todd Tremaine, Bunn's crime spree began soon after his release from a Louisiana correctional facility for felony bank fraud charges.

According to District Manager for the Covington, La. parole board Kevin Hidalgo, Bunn was released from the B.B. Rayburn Correctional Center in mid-August and absconded from his parole in mid-October. At that same time, St. Tammany Parish, La. sheriff's detectives were investigating two residential burglaries near Bunn's residence.

Bunn admitted to investigators he was the driver in one of those two burglaries. During that burglary, two blank checks were stolen. Bunn's girlfriend attempted to deposit those two checks into her personal account, one for $1,500 and one for $1,800.

St. Tammany Parish detectives learned Bunn was driving a 2005 Chevrolet truck, which was registered to his father, Frank Bunn, of Louisiana. The elder Bunn, who had signed for the loan on the truck, requested a tracking device be placed on the vehicle.

That device showed the vehicle had left Louisiana and ended up in Jackson County, Fla. On Oct. 22, a burglary was reported in Jackson County, during which a Tactical Weapons Solutions AR-15, .223-caliber rifle was reported stolen. During questioning, Bunn admitted he was running out of money in Florida and burglarized a home there.

After learning of the Florida burglary, St. Tammany Parish detectives researched an online database called LEADS, which allows law enforcement to see if any stolen weapons show up in pawn shops.

According to the federal affidavit, that LEADS search led investigators to Fast Cash Pawn Shop in Williamsburg, where Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird advised Bunn had indeed pawned the gun stolen in Florida and received $300.

Meanwhile in Corbin, Corbin Police were dispatched Oct. 29 to investigate a suspicious vehicle parked behind the Days Inn near Exit 25 of I-75. When Patrolman Kyle Gray went to question Bunn, he fled in the truck and led police on a 24-mile chase on northbound I-75, at times reaching speeds exceeding 100 mph. Five police cruisers were damaged or disabled during the vehicle chase, which ended in the woods near exit 49. Two state police dogs were brought in after Bunn abandoned the truck and fled into the woods on foot.

Corbin Police Detective Rusty Hedrick received information from a confidential informant that Bunn was staying at a Whitley County residence. He was captured without incident at that residence Wednesday morning.

A search of the abandoned truck found a pawn ticket for the AR-15 with Bunn's name and address listed, as well as 20 rounds of ammunition for the weapon.

Corbin Police charged Bunn with 15 counts of first-degree wanton endangerment to officers, three counts of first-degree criminal mischief and one count each of fleeing or evading police by motor vehicle, first-degree fleeing or evading police by foot, speeding 26 mph or more over the posted speed limit and reckless driving.

Bunn already has three felony convictions under his belt. Two convictions came in 2004, one for possession of cocaine and the other for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. His third felony conviction of bank fraud came in 2009.

Hidalgo said there could be other burglary charges in Mississippi, but that "it'll probably be quite a while" before Bunn faces charges in several states in the southeast.

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