On Saturday, July 22, 2017, Transylvania County Sheriff’s Deputies received a BOLO from Henderson County in reference to a suspect vehicle in a breaking and entering in Mills River near the Transylvania and Henderson County Line. Later this same morning, Patrol Deputies with the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office located a vehicle matching the description in Pisgah National Forest, just off U.S. Highway 276 North. When a patrol deputy attempted to initiate a vehicle stop on Avery’s Creek Road, the suspect refused to stop and a vehicle pursuit ensued.
The suspect continued on Avery’s Creek Road, and at one point quickly exited his vehicle, and stole a mountain bike, while pointing a firearm (unknown handgun) at the victim / owner. The suspect placed the stolen bike in his vehicle, and the vehicle pursuit continued. TCSO Deputies were unable to make contact at that instance due to the crowded nature of hikers and campers on the roadway. The suspect then blocked the roadway, parking his vehicle sideways, got on the stolen mountain bike, and fled into the woods.
A perimeter was established in the area, and the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT) was called out to attempt to locate the suspect. Other agencies assisting in the manhunt include the Brevard Police Department, the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, the NC State Highway Patrol (including helicopter support), the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office (including a Special Response Team), the NC State Bureau of Investigation, and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office. At the time of this press release, the suspect has not been located.
The suspect has been positively identified as Phillip Michael Stroupe II (photo and updates here), Date of Birth 7/25/1978 (38 years old), with a last known address of Weaverville, NC. He is described as a white male, approximately 5-feet 8-inches tall, with a small build; he has a shaved head and a large distinct tattoo on his neck just under his chin. HE IS CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS. The suspect has a history of violence and resisting law enforcement. He has outstanding warrants in Buncombe County for kidnapping, and he also has pending charges in Yancey County.
If anyone has any information, please contact the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 884-3168.
The latest closure information:
Highway 276 on the Pisgah Ranger District and Davidson River Road (#475) have now reopened.
Attractions along Highway 276 are now open except for the Cradle of Forestry. Sliding Rock is open but restrooms are closed and no lifeguards are on duty today. Regular operations will resume tomorrow.
Remaining closed are North Mills River Campground, Wash Creek Group Horse Camp, Yellow Gap Road, and Wash Creek Road due to continued law enforcement activities in those areas.
Numerous law enforcement agencies led by Transylvania County Sheriff's Office are engaged in a search for a suspect who is known to be armed and dangerous.