AA 24-year-old Oneida man suspected of an attempt to shoplift at Walmart last summer managed to stay on the lam for six months before an alleged return to the store last week refocused law enforcement’s efforts on finding him and ultimately led to his arrest.

Dylan Dunphy, 24, of the Grave Hill neighborhood, was arrested Wednesday, January 30, four days after an alleged shoplifting incident at the Oneida retail store.

Dunphy had allegedly fled from authorities last July, after Walmart loss prevention personnel summoned police to the store in regards to a suspicious vehicle that was circling the parking lot. 

William Angel, then the assistant chief at Oneida Police Department, caught up with the vehicle on U.S. Hwy. 27 a short time later. However, the vehicle refused to stop, leading Angel on a pursuit south through the city. 

On the south end of town, Scott County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Joe Byrge intercepted the vehicle, and he and Angel managed to box the vehicle in, at which point Dunphy and another passenger — Brian Delosangeles — fled the vehicle and ran through a yard and behind a house. 

Two others remained in the vehicle and did not flee.

Delosangeles was captured from a shed where he was hiding by pursuing officers. Dunphy managed to escape by fleeing across the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks. 

For the next six months, Dunphy’s whereabouts were unknown to law enforcement — until he and another man, identified as Chad Strunk, 32, of the Ditney Trail community in eastern Scott County — allegedly shoplifted from Walmart on January 26.

According to a warrant filed by Oneida Police Department Investigator Dustin Burke, the two men entered the store and took a backpack. After placing a car amplifier inside the backpack, Dunphy exited the store with the backpack, and the two men left the parking lot in a blue car.

Oneida Police Department used Facebook in an effort to locate the alleged thieves.

“These two male individuals frequented our local Walmart on 1/26/2019, and decided that paying for a car amplifier and backpack just was not in the cards . . . instead wanted to be showcased in our little game we seem to play here,” OPD wrote in a post on the social networking site. “So they rolled the dice and stole these items, unfortunately this card reads ‘Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.’

“If either of these individuals look familiar or you happen to hear a little blue/purple car ‘thumping’ the radio to some hardcore Taylor Swift, call us at the Oneida Police Department,” the department added.

The next morning, Dunphy was arrested by Scott County Sheriff’s Department deputies who were inspecting a suspicious vehicle and found the suspect asleep behind the wheel. According to OPD, found inside the car was methamphetamine packaged for resale, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, along with the backpack stolen from Walmart.

Strunk was reportedly arrested at a separate residence on outstanding warrants.

Dunphy, who had an outstanding warrant for evading arrest, faces new charges in Oneida of burglary and criminal trespass, since he had previously been banned by Walmart from entering its stores. Strunk was charged with misdemeanor theft.