Couple Wanted in Three State Crime Spree Captured Near Shell Knob

   Christopher Blevins           Mercedes Splichal


     Authorities in Barry and Stone County Missouri, Carroll County Arkansas and Madison County Tennessee have been involved in the search for Christopher Blevins and Mercedes Splichal for nearly two weeks.  The couple was wanted for a string of crimes committed in those jurisdictions, including residential burglaries and numerous auto thefts.
  Blevins, 32 and Splichal, 24, of Golden and Eureka Springs respectively, were captured Wednesday afternoon, 6-14, just north of Shell Knob after a short manhunt. 
  Law enforcement in our area had been on the lookout for the couple for nearly two weeks and had responded to numerous sightings of the pair. 
  A sighting Wednesday afternoon led to the capture.  Blevins walked to the door of a home down a dead end lane, possibly looking for a vehicle to steal or to burglarize the home.  When the homeowners answered the door, he told them that his vehicle had broke down and he needed help.  Blevins was carrying a rifle in his hands and had a revolver in a holster on his hip.
  The homeowners told him that they couldn't help him and Blevins walked away, down the lane.  The homeowners reported the contact to 911 and deputies responded. 
  While three Barry County Detectives were on scene with the original callers, a second sighting was reported a short distance down the road.  The caller on this sighting reported that the same man was walking around an empty house, checking the doors, looking as if he were trying to get into the house.  Detectives and a Missouri Highway Patrol Sergeant responded immediately.  Detectives noticed a Dodge minivan backing out of a driveway a very short distance down the road from the second sighting and stopped that vehicle, finding Christopher Blevins in the process of stealing what is believed to be at least the fifth vehicle in this spree. 
  Blevins was arrested at gunpoint and taken into custody without any violence.  At the time of Blevins' arrest, he was armed with a .357 magnum revolver in a holster on his hip and a .44 magnum rifle in the front seat of the van, next to him.  Blevins also had suspected methamphetamine in his pocket at the time of his arrest. 
  After he was taken into custody, Blevins provided information regarding the location of Splichal, who was hiding and waiting for Blevins in the Piney Creek area.  Blevins was trying to steal another vehicle and would pick her up after doing so. 
  MSHP Trooper and a Conservation Agent followed Blevins' directions and were able to take Splichal into custody without any violence.  Splichal was armed with a .22 caliber semi automatic rifle at the time of her arrest. 
  Blevins also provided information regarding the pickup he had been driving earlier in the day when he was able to outrun a Barry County Deputy.  This truck was eventually located over a mile down a Forest Service trail, heavily damaged.  The truck was found to have been stolen in Madison County Tennessee. 
  Police in Brownsville Tennessee, acting on information provided by Blevins, located a Ford F-350 truck stolen on 6-6-17 from Harps in Seligman.  The .357 on Blevins person at the time of his arrest was in this truck when it was stolen.
  Both Blevins and Splichal are currently being held in the Barry County Jail on charges from both Barry County Missouri, and Carroll County Arkansas.  Additional charges from multiple other jurisdictions are expected.

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