Police dog helps track down bank robbery suspect

Clayton Hill

Authorities arrested a man wanted in a bank robbery in Manassas after a state police tracking dog found him hiding in a Dumpster behind a store in Woodstock Saturday.

Woodstock Police Chief Eric Reiley said state police took Clayton L. Hill, 52, of Middleburg, into custody without incident.

Reiley said Manassas police warned Woodstock officers at 6:45 a.m. Saturday to be on the lookout for Hill, who was identified as a suspect in a bank robbery in Manassas on Jan. 7. Reiley said town police were warned that Hill could be armed and dangerous, although he did not display a weapon during the alleged bank robbery.

A Woodstock officer and Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office deputy spotted Hill in the Wal-Mart parking lot off of Va. 42 just before 7 a.m., but the suspect sped away in his car as the law enforcement officers approached him, authorities said.

State police spotted Hill’s car and chased him down the southbound entrance ramp of Interstate 81 on the Va. 42 interchange, Reiley said.

Virginia State Police Sgt. F.L. (Les) Tyler said Hill’s car went past a state police cruiser driven by trooper J.T. Custer, who chased Hill down the entrance ramp.

Hill’s car ran off the entrance ramp and into an open area where it wrecked, Reiley said.

Hill took off on foot, but law enforcement officers set up a perimeter around the area and found him after about 45 minutes, Reiley said.

Tyler said trooper A.S. Waybright supervised the dog that led law enforcement officers to Hill.

Tyler said Hill was charged with offenses related to the Manassas bank robbery, felony eluding of police, two counts of reckless driving and two counts of running stop signs.

No one was injured and no weapons were found on Hill.

Reiley said his department had received “some indication” that Hill had been in Staunton and was returning to the Manassas area at the time of his arrest.

“I’m just thankful he was taken into custody without anybody being injured,” Reiley said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com