Three days away and a hundred miles from where it began, authorities say they've ended a string of crimes that started with a stolen hammer and ended with a stolen police cruiser.
Police say a Largo man was at the center of the crime spree, which was kicked off by his termination from a lifeguard position with the City of Clearwater on Monday. Officials say his termination was the result of vandalism he carried out against his now-former supervisor's vehicle. In addition to termination, he was also arrested for felony criminal mischief, resisting arrest with violence, battery on a law enforcement officer, and possession of cannabis. He was booked into Pinellas County Jail and released shortly after upon posting a bond of $12,150.
The next day the 22-year-old man was in a local hardware store when he allegedly stole a hammer and attempted to bully two men into giving him their work truck. The men were unmoved, so the suspect allegedly found another truck, frightened off the driver, and left the scene in the vehicle.
Heading east on the Courtney Campbell Causeway into Tampa, the man became the target of a search by local police, who enlisted the aid of the public, but to no avail.
The next contact the suspect allegedly had with police was on Thursday when they say they spotted him along the side of the Florida Turnpike near Vero Beach. Appearing in medical distress, a FHP trooper pulled alongside him and offered him water. Instead of taking the water, the suspect allegedly took the officer's car, and the chase was on again.
Other FHP officers joined in the pursuit, eventually stopping him a short time later. However, as they exited their vehicles in order to arrest him, they say he backed the cruiser out of the way and proceeded again down the highway. Officers from several agencies ultimately disabled his vehicle near Yeehaw Junction, prompting him to flee the vehicle into an adjacent wooded area where he was finally arrested.
The suspect is currently undergoing medical treatment in Raulerson Hospital in Okeechobee. He will face a litany of charges across several jurisdictions upon his discharge from hospital.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.