Police: Man steals instruments from school, leads officers on chase

A man is facing charges after authorities say he broke into a New Hampshire school, stole instruments and then led officers on a chase into Massachusetts.

The front wheel of Derron Johnson’s red Dodge pickup blew off Thursday night when allegedly sped around a bend and hit a telephone pole while trying to escape police.

Massachusetts State Police said they were chasing the 42-year-old Agawam native because he was wanted for breaking into a school in New Hampshire.

“It turns out he had broken into the Barnard School in South Hampton and stole items from inside, including items found in the truck,” said assistant Essex County district attorney Maura Bailey.

Police said Johnson stole bongo drums, a wooden flute, drum sticks, a camera, a back pack and glow sticks from the school.

When officers pulled Johnson over in Amesbury, the stolen items were sitting in the passenger seat of his truck, police said.

“He has a problem with bipolar condition,” said Jim Johnson, the suspect’s father.

Jim Johnson said his son is sick.

“He didn’t even know he was here or how he got here. He was just spaced out. Its been a continuing problem. He hasn’t had a problem in 20 years and all of a sudden everything closed in on him,” Jim Johnson said.

But Derron Johnson’s defense attorney never mentioned medical issues or asked for a psychological evaluation. Instead, he blamed problems in his personal life.

“He was going through a divorce and it’s a very difficult time, and the stress of the divorce and leaving a home,” attorney William Hernon said.

He was ordered on $5,000 bail.

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