INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A former bounty hunter helped his 25-year-old stepson track down the suspect who stole his truck on the near southwest side Tuesday.
"He run over my boy. He almost left my grandbaby without a father," said Lonnie Belcher, the former bounty hunter.
Ronnie Payne was visiting a friend Tuesday morning in the 1200 block of Hiatt Street in Indianapolis when he heard someone trying to get into his truck.
“I looked at him was like, 'dude what are you doing?' He was like, 'I’m sorry bud. I have to,'” Payne said. “I (then) went after him. I punched him in the face, grabbed him around the neck and held on for dear life.”
Witnesses Payne held onto the vehicle for about a block. During that time, the suspect rammed the truck into a Mustang and eventually shook Payne off the vehicle and then ran over him.
Payne said at the time he was thinking, “I can’t let this man steal my truck. That’s my lifeline. That’s how I got out and make my money and take care of my daughter.”
Emergency crews responded to the scene and took Payne to the hospital. He suffered several bruises and possibly a broken leg, but shortly after he got home, he and his stepfather went to find the truck.
Shortly into the search, the two spotted the stolen tan 1997 Chevrolet on West Street in Indianapolis.
“I flipped around. Grabbed the phone and dialed 911 and told (dispatch) street by street where we were going," Belcher said.
The two followed the suspect until they say the truck eventually broke down from the damages that happened earlier in the day. The suspect then ditched the vehicle at S. Meridian Street and David Lind Drive and fled on foot, Belcher said.
Belcher said he had Payne stay with the stolen truck and he followed the suspect through some backyards. The suspect then got into another vehicle near the intersection of S. Meridian and Hoss Street, Belcher said.
With police still on the line, Belcher said he and several squad cars cornered and apprehended the suspect down the road near Thompson Road and Camden Street.
Payne said while he's happy to still be alive, he lost a lot more than just his truck during this ordeal.
“My daughter’s car seat is missing. All of her baby dolls are gone. I mean everything is gone out of my truck," Payne said. “I have no way to work. I have no way to take care of my daughter. I’m a single father. I have no means of taking care of my daughter now. This man took a lot more away from me than just my truck.”
Payne has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for repairs to his truck and to replace some of the items he lost.