COLBY — A Denver man is in custody after allegedly stealing three vehicles and leading law enforcement on a chase through Thomas County on Monday morning.

According to a press release from the Thomas County Sheriff's office, Timothy Leonard Lee Medel, 32, Denver, was was arrested shortly after 11:30 a.m. Charges are pending with the Thomas County attorney's office.

The incident began when dispatch received a report of someone removing a tag from a vehicle shortly before 10 a.m. A sheriff's deputy initiated a traffic stop a few minutes later, but Medel sped away, wrecking the first stolen vehicle shortly after 10 a.m.

He was pursued on foot by the Colby Police Department, then stole a second vehicle from Wheatridge Road in Colby. The press release states Medel drove erratically, with vehicles pulling over to avoid being hit.

While the pursuit was ongoing in Colby city limits, Colby public schools and Golden Plains public school, as well as nursing homes in Colby, were advised of the pursuit and initiated lock-down procedures as a precaution.

The suspect led authorities outside of Colby at 10:05 a.m., heading eastbound on College Drive. The pursuit then continued through fields, fences and county roads, until another vehicle was stolen from McCarty Dairy southwest of Rexford.

The pursuit entered the city of Gem at 10:30 a.m., and Medel reportedly drove through residential yards before leaving city limits.

At approximately 10:48 a.m., the stolen vehicle was located near the intersection of County Road 24 and County Road U. The stolen vehicle was found to be unoccupied. A perimeter was set up to located Medel.

At approximately 11:39 a.m., Medel was arrested without further incident through assistance of the Kansas Highway Patrol K-9 Unit.

The Thomas County Sheriff’s Office, Colby Police Department, Sheridan County Sheriff's Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, and Kansas Bureau of Investigation assisted in the apprehension of Medel.

Residents who witnessed the pursuit or had property damaged are asked to send a written statement to jcox@thomascountyks.gov, referencing case number TH18-214.