Homeless man leads Auburn Police on a chase through campus

AUBURN, Ala. — A homeless man faces charges of disorderly conduct and fleeing an officer after leading Auburn Police on a chase Wednesday morning.

Auburn Police said they received a call of a possible shoplifter from a downtown business around 9 a.m. Wednesday. The description given by the caller matched the suspect, William McConnell.

William McConnell (Auburn Police Department)

“I think we had four different complaints from different business in regards to him loitering and trespassing,” Asst. Chief Will Mathews said. “The officers responding to the scene had an idea of who they were looking for at the time.”

Police said they found McConnell on Gay Street, but soon after, he took off from police on his bike.

The chase eventually made its way to Auburn’s campus. Once the chase went on campus, police said McConnell ditched his bike, turning it into a foot chase. Police said at one point, McConnell made his way into a classroom on campus while an orientation was taking place.

McConnell was eventually taken into custody near the university’s aerospace engineering building, less than 10 minutes after he was first spotted. Police said this situation showed the tremendous teamwork between the police division and university.

“The call started in the city, off of campus, and then transitioned onto campus,” Asst. Chief Mathews said. “The officers pursued, continued to their operations and took him into custody minutes later. We were in communication with Auburn University Department of Campus Safety and Security immediately when we saw that the pursuit was heading towards campus. The university was aware of what was going on even while the pursuit was in progress.”

Police said McConnell did have a pocketknife on him when he was arrested, but he did not attempt to use it.

McConnell is set to appear in court on October 5 at 8 a.m.

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