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Johnston County Sheriff's Office searching for wanted fugitive, sex offender

Sierra Rains
The Daily Ardmoreite
Johnny Wade Simmons

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a wanted fugitive after reportedly recovering a truck he had stolen, which was allegedly filled with drugs, counterfeit money, stolen items and disguises. 

Deputies and other local law enforcement have reportedly had encounters with 37-year-old Johnny Wade Simmons before. According to the sheriff’s office, Simmons has a violent criminal record, is an aggravated sex offender and escaped from prison in Atoka County in 2018. 

A Johnston County deputy reportedly came across the stolen vehicle, a white Chevy pickup pulling a trailer, Friday evening while in Wapanucka. According to the sheriff’s office, the vehicle was driving in an “unsafe manner,” and managed to turn and elude a deputy before he could make a traffic stop. 

A short time later, another Johnston County deputy encountered a male subject walking next to a Wapanucka school and stopped to investigate. The subject was released after providing a name, and at the time, seemed to not be involved in any criminal behavior. 

Another deputy reportedly discovered the same truck from earlier abandoned and still running in front of the school. According to the sheriff’s office, evidence located in the truck identified the driver as Johnny Wade Simmons. 

Deputies reportedly believe Simmons had given them a false name while at the school earlier. Upon further investigation, deputies reportedly discovered that the truck had been stolen from the Corner Market in Coleman over a month ago. 

Johnston County deputies display the items recovered from an alleged stolen vehicle Friday. The items included drugs, fake IDs, counterfeit bills and other items such as materials to produce counterfeit money and wigs believed to be used for disguise.

According to the sheriff’s office, both the truck and trailer contained several items deputies believe to be stolen, including street or highway signs, solar panels and galvanized metal boxes containing batteries for solar panels. 

Deputies also allegedly recovered methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, several fake IDs, a large amount of counterfeit bills, a printer and scanner, and other items such as materials to produce counterfeit money and wigs believed to be used for disguise. 

Based on the evidence at the scene, deputies reportedly determined that a female subject had also been in the vehicle and had fled the area. According to the sheriff’s office, deputies engaged in a manhunt for both individuals, which lasted until the next morning. 

The female, identified as Jacklyn Gilmore, was reportedly located on Saturday morning in the Coleman area. However, Simmons is still at large. According to the sheriff’s office, Simmons has multiple warrants for his arrest out of multiple counties. 

Jacklyn Gilmore

He is wanted out of Cleveland County for domestic assault by strangulation, domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and domestic assault and battery after a former conviction. He is also wanted out of Bryan County for second-degree burglary and Grady County for failing to comply with his sex offender registration. 

According to Grady County court documents, Simmons’ sex offender status stems from a 2009 conviction for engaging in lewd acts with a child under the age of 16. 

Simmons now has additional warrants out of Johnston County, as well. The felony charges include possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of counterfeit currency, possession of fake IDs, possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia, failure to comply with sex offender status, and more. 

“If you know of this subject’s whereabouts please contact the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office immediately. This is a dangerous subject and we need to get him in jail,” Johnston County Sheriff Gary Dodd wrote in a statement. “Any persons which give him comfort or aid, or harbor him in any way will be arrested and charged accordingly.” 

Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office at (580) 371-2646.