Police searching for car theft suspect
UPDATE as of 12:00pm April 15, 2022: At this time, Christiansburg Police is no longer looking for a second suspect and believe that all involved parties have been accounted for. The suspect named in yesterday’s release (seen below) is the only party being charged at this time. There is no longer a threat to the community.
At approximately 10:02 a.m., an officer with the Christiansburg Police Department conducted a routine traffic stop on the 2700 block of Roanoke Street for a vehicle with an expired inspection. While attempting to pull the vehicle over, the driver sped up and ran over a traffic sign. The driver then pulled into a parking lot, where both the driver and a passenger fled on foot.
With help from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, police were able to arrest one suspect, Robert Joseph Franklin Smith, Jr., age 31 of Christiansburg. Police were transporting Smith to the Montgomery County Magistrates Office when he began experiencing a medical emergency. Christiansburg Rescue was called and arrived on scene in under 30 seconds. Smith was transported to Lewis Gale Montgomery Regional Hospital. There is no available information on his medical status at this time. Charges are pending.
Meanwhile, police are continuing to search for the second suspect, identified as a white male with tattoos, last seen wearing jeans but no shirt or shoes. Law enforcement deployed both K9 tracking units and drone units in an effort to locate the suspect, but the second suspect has not yet been located.
During continued investigation, police found that the vehicle the suspects were using was reported stolen on April 13 from Giles County, Va. Investigators also believe the suspect at large, may be armed. While there is no information indicating the suspect poses a threat to the public, residents in neighborhoods along Roanoke Street near the top of Christiansburg Mountain are encouraged to keep their vehicles and residences locked, and be alert to any suspicious persons.
The investigation remains ongoing.