Steve Stephens eluded law enforcement for two days after committing a heinous murder and posting it on Facebook. However, the nationwide manhunt for Stephens ended when McDonald’s employees outsmarted him, tricking him into uttering his final words.
The New York Times reports that a number of false sightings of Stephens occurred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, and even Texas. The manhunt for him and his life both came to an end about 100 miles from where he fatally shot a man.
On April 18th at around 11 am, Stephens pulled his white Ford Fusion sedan into a McDonald’s drive-thru in Erie, Pennsylvania. He paid $5.35 for a 20-piece order of Chicken McNuggets and a large order of fries.
According to restaurant owner Tom Ducharme, the female employee working at the drive-thru recognized Stephens and immediately reported his presence to Ducharme and the manager on duty.
Ducharme told Erie News Now that he and the manager approached the window and informed Stephens that his fries were not ready and that he would have to wait. The stall tactic worked as Stephens became nervous before saying his final words, “I have to go.”
“Hats off to my crew and managers who work here,” Ducharme said. “I’m just so proud of how they handled everything.” Stephens drove off without his fries and, according to Ducharme, was stopped by police not far from the restaurant. It was then that the murderer shot and killed himself.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams said he regretted that they were unable to capture Stephens alive. “We prefer it had not ended this way,” he said. “This started with one tragedy and ended with another person taking his own life.” However, this coward taking hos own life saved the taxpayers a lot of money.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is heralding the employee’s of McDonald’s as heroes. He implied that they should even receive the reward that had been placed on Stephens’ head. “There is an award up to $50,000 for the arrest of Mr. Steve Stephens. The money comes from the FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshal Service,” Jackson said.
It is amazing to think that the power of social media and the internet enabled these McDonald’s employees to bring an end to the manhunt and prevent further tragedy. If not for smartphones and fast-traveling media, Stephens may still be on the run. Hats off to the fast thinking workers who did this. Hopefully, they will soon be enjoying the reward.