By TOM HARMENING
NORTH PORT — The search for a wanted fugitive widened on Friday, according to North Port Police.
Robert Steven Harrelson, 41, who lived on Spice Lane, off Cranberry Avenue, in North Port, fled Thursday afternoon when officers attempted to serve him with warrants.
Harrelson is wanted on numerous felonies involving drugs and weapons charges issued out of Charlotte and DeSoto counties.
On Thursday, school and bus activities in and around Cranberry Elementary School were suspended and students were not allowed to walk home as the chase began.
Sarasota County Schools District officials called it a “limited lockdown” because of the ongoing police activity. It had begun after school had let out for the day but while some buses were still at the school.
Parents were advised to pick up students and also meet students at bus stops as they left buses.
North Port Police set up a perimeter in the area where Harrelson last was seen. A helicopter and K-9 units were also used in an attempt to check the area. The search was hampered due to a massive rainstorm that drenched the area about an hour after the incident began.
By Friday, the perimeter was dropped and school activities went on as normal.
“We believe this man has left he area,” North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said.
Nearby law enforcement agencies were asked to look for Harrelson.
He is described as standing 5 foot 6 inches tall and about 170 pounds.
When he was last seen, he was wearing a gray shirt, blue jeans and red and white shoes.
Taylor said Harrelson’s family members were asked to help persuade him to turn himself in peacefully at any law enforcement agency.
Anyone spotting him is asked to call 911.