• Alleged tip jar thief who died running from police had just gotten out of jail

    By: Tony Thomas

    Updated:

    GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Records show a teenager who died after running from police had just gotten out of jail days earlier.

    You see him in a video stealing a tip jar from a Gwinnett County restaurant and the manager run after him.

    Channel 2’s Gwinnett County bureau chief Tony Thomas has been digging into the man's past.        

    Gwinnett county police identified the suspect as Jaylen Purge, 18.

    Records show he had just been released from jail last week after he allegedly rammed a Gwinnett County sheriff's deputy during a chase and arrest last month. 

    “You work so hard and somebody just come and take it. It's not fair,” store manager Juan Angeles said.
    The manager of the Italian Pie restaurant on Beaver Ruin Road gave Thomas surveillance video of Purge walking into the store Sunday night.


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    “He said, ‘Do you guys sell EBT stamps?’ I said, ‘No, sir,’” Angeles said.

    Angeles said the man then grabbed the tip jar with about $100 in it and ran.

    Angeles and his brother, who is a cook, ran after him. 

    A passing police officer also chased him and says the car disappeared a few blocks away.

    Authorities later found the car flipped over and submerged in this pond off Pavillion Place. 

    Purge did not survive. 

    Records Thomas obtained show it was not the 18-year-olds first run in with the law in recent weeks. 

    He was accused of felony shoplifting in September and then theft by conversion in November, after taking a car.

    Gwinnett County sheriff's deputies say he took off from them, driving dangerously down the middle turn lane on Singleton Road.  

    He spent his 18th birthday, Christmas day, in jail and was just released on Wednesday.

    “He took the tip jar and he (ran) away. I tried to chase him to stop him and he drove away so fast, he almost (ran) over me,” Angeles said.

    Gwinnett County police say they have two investigations underway: one about the fatality accident and a second focusing on the strong-armed robbery at the pizza restaurant.

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