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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, TN -
(WMC-TV) – An armed and dangerous suspect remains on the loose, possibly in Lauderdale or Tipton County.
Investigators say Stephen Melton, 58, was able to steal a deputy's patrol car including pipe bombs and a meth lab officers say they discovered inside his home.
According to the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department, around 11:30 Saturday morning deputies were trying to serve a warrant on Melton when they found him at his home on Cooper Creek Road in Lauderdale County.
The tenant let officials inside where they found an active meth lab, pipe bombs and weapons. Melton was subsequently arrested and placed in a Lauderdale County Sheriff's Deputy SUV.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Steve Sanders says as deputies were leaving the scene they were called back. While they were inside the home, Melton kicked an 11-inch hole through the Plexiglas, climbed up front and drove away in the SUV.
Hours later they found the stolen SUV in the woods, but not Melton was no longer inside
A helicopter searched the area by air, while officers and deputies from Lauderdale, Tipton, Ripley, Hall and Tennessee High Patrol search the area by foot.
By 5 o'clock a tow truck arrived and removed the SUV from the woods, with a crunched front bumper.
People who live nearby say they be on the lookout Saturday night into Sunday morning. But admit they'll be locking all their doors at home tonight.
We looked into Melton's criminal history and found he has never been arrested in Lauderdale County, however he was booked in Tipton County for driving with a suspended license and criminal impersonation in 2011.
Melton is considered armed and dangerous. If you see him or know of his whereabouts, please contact law enforcement immediately.