SEARCY COUNTY, Ark. — A man accused of stealing items from a car at a gas station while towing a mule in the bed of his pickup truck has been caught after authorities say his pickup truck broke down and the mule he tried riding away on bucked him off.
Searcy county deputies arrested Shane Middleton on Tuesday morning after he was found in a field barefoot, not far from a mule tied to a pickup truck that matched a description of a suspected thief’s getaway car.
“When he ran out of gas, he decided he was going to ride the mule back to Newton county, and he said that the mule bucked him so hard that he lost his boots and both socks,” DeWayne Pierce, chief deputy, said.
The theft was reported at Wade’s Convenience Store along Highway 65 in Leslie on Monday evening.
Video shows a pickup truck with a mule in the back pull up to the reported victim’s car. Sheriff’s investigators say Middleton gets out of the pickup and swipes a gun, a chainsaw and a phone from the victim’s car before getting in his truck and driving away.
It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that investigators found Middleton and learned of his roadside troubles involving a broken-down truck and a stubborn mule.
Middleton was on parole and has a lengthy criminal history, according to Pierce.
Middleton was booked into the Searcy county jail on theft and breaking or entering charges.
The stolen items were recovered where Middleton was located, Pierce says.
The mule was taken to the county fairgrounds where it was fed and then it was handed over to Middleton’s family members.