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Austin Michael Neece
Courtesy of Burke County Sheriff's Office

Burke County Man Arrested On Multiple Charges After Being Spotted By Drones

26-year-old Austin Michael Neece of Mount Gilead Church Road in Connelly Springs was arrested last Thursday (March 23) by Burke County Sheriff’s Officers. He’s charged with parole violation, felony identity theft, and misdemeanor resisting a public officer.

According to information released Monday (March 27), last Thursday a Burke County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to an address on N.C. 18 South in Connelly Springs on a routine call for service. Upon arrival, the deputy saw a man drop a chainsaw and run toward a wooded area behind the residence. The fleeing subject was identified as Austin Michael Neece.

The vehicle from which Neece fled was searched and approximately .5 grams of methamphetamine, a white powder substance, and drug paraphernalia were seized. A further search resulted in the recovery of property that had been reported stolen earlier that day. The property was returned to the owner.

A short time after clearing the scene, the Burke County Emergency Communications Center received a call that Neece was back on the property. Multiple deputies and detectives along with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded. Upon arrival, Neece was spotted and again fled on foot. A witness said Neece was in possession of a handgun.

Deputies tracked Neece to the area of Della Drive where he was spotted by several anonymous callers. Due to the possibility that the suspect had a firearm, Burke County SWAT was called to the scene. Assistance was also provided by the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office Drone Operation Team. With the use of the drones, Neece was found hiding in a hand dug hole behind a residence on Della Drive.

The suspect has multiple convictions dating back to 2015. Neece was placed in the Burke County Jail under no bond and $5,000 secured bond. Additional charges are expected in this case. Neece remained in jail as of earlier today (March 28). A District Court date is scheduled for April 17.