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Footprints in snow lead to arrest of Cleveland man

From the Cleveland Daily Banner: Taken into custody twice in a week, a Bradley County man charged with criminal impersonation and evading arrest w

From the Cleveland Daily Banner: Taken into custody twice in a week, a Bradley County man charged with criminal impersonation and evading arrest was booked in the Bradley County Jail after his footprints in the snow led officers to his whereabouts.


Michael Jason Burke, 51, was initially apprehended by a Cleveland Police Department officer on Jan. 12 in a traffic stop.


The car Burke was a passenger in had a suspended license plate tag, and when he and the driver, who was not arrested, were asked to present a state-issued identification, neither could do so.


However, unlike Burke, the driver was honest about who she was. Burke said his name was “Kenny Raiper.”


“Due to previous encounters, I was aware his name was Michael, but could not recall his last name,” the CPD officer wrote in his incident report. “I told him I was aware he he was giving me false information, at which time he gave the Social Security [number].”


The CPD officer checked and verified that the Social Security number Burke offered belonged to a different person entirely, and when Burke heard this, he then provided his actual information, the incident report states.


His Social Security number allowed for dispatchers to find that Burke had a warrant out for his arrest with the Bradley County Jail.


While speaking with Burke and the driver of the vehicle, the officer observed “several furtive movements” by Burke, including “digging in a cigarette pack but never retrieving a cigarette.”


When he was asked to exit the vehicle, the officer noted Burke “turned toward the center of the vehicle, appearing to try to conceal something.”


The officer received permission from the driver to search the vehicle, and he “immediately saw a baggie containing approximately two grams of suspected methamphetamine” in the passenger seat where Burke had been sitting.


Another container with approximately one gram of suspected methamphetamine was also recovered from the vehicle.


The driver was issued a stated citation for a registration violation, driving while suspended and possession of methamphetamine.


Initially taken into CPD custody, Burke complained of chest pains, so he was released to Bradley County EMS and managed to evade arrest.


From there, a warrant for his arrest was issued on charges of criminal impersonation, possession of methamphetamine and evading arrest.


Three days later, in the wintry weather on Monday, Jan. 15, the same CPD officer saw Burke riding a bicycle on Mouse Creek Road, and followed him knowing there was a warrant out for his arrest. The officer said he bumped his air horn, and Burke did not acknowledge him. When the officer rolled down his window and told Burke to stop, Burke began “pedaling north in an urgent manner.”


From there, the officer briefly lost track of Burke when he made his way onto North Ocoee Street, but he found the bicycle abandoned and was able to follow footprints in the snow heading toward Sharon Drive.


Another CPD officer then saw Burke behind a residence on Ramsey Street, and was able to take him into custody.


A jacket which Burke had been wearing prior to the CPD’s pursuit was later located between Sharon Drive and Ramsey Street.


Burke is being held on a $2,000 bond, and will be arraigned on Feb. 15.