Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Aviation unit provided air support to apprehend two suspects charged with multiple vehicle burglaries that led deputies on a lengthy pursuit, which began in Valrico, ending in Pasco County.
That vehicle burglaries continue to plague area residents and, the necessity of ocking car doors as well as keeping valuables out of sight, or out of the car altogether, took center stage last month following a number of vehicle burglaries in the District IV area.
Fortunately, vigilance on the part of witnesses to the crime as well as the cooperation between residents and several law enforcement divisions, the suspects responsible were pursued, arrested and valuables recovered.
As reported by HCSO, following a lengthy pursuit, deputies apprehended Lucious Felder, 23 and Terry Joseph, 26, who began their day of mayhem by breaking the windows of multiple vehicles at the Campo YMCA at Culbreath Road and Bloomingdale Avenue.
The suspects proceeded to the Mobil gas station and the Taco Bell on Bloomingdale Avenue just north of Bell Shoals Road where they used credit cards stolen during the YMCA burglaries, deputies said.
The two were not done yet, however, as they next drove to the Lithia Springs Park where they committed an additional auto burglary, followed by two more at the Fish Hawk Sports Complex.
Deputies explained that the victims and witnesses heard one of the windows shattering and a vehicle flee from the area just moments later. A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, ran to his vehicle and was able catch up to the suspect’s vehicle traveling westbound on Fish Hawk Boulevard.
Deputies responded to the call for service and received updates from the witness following the suspect vehicle, while air service also joined the chase spotting the suspect’s vehicle in the area of US Highway 301 at Gibsonton Drive.
Deputies nearby also spotted the vehicle at the same location, but were instructed not to engage and try to stop the vehicle. District II was notified of the incident and also assisted the pursuit to the Seffner area at a legal rate of speed until the suspects spotted deputies in marked patrol vehicles that were assisting.
The chase continued into Pasco County where Pasco County Sheriff’s Office assisted the pursuit as a Hillsborough County Corporal successfully deployed Stopsticks puncturing the suspects front left tire.
The suspect vehicle struck a traffic control sign as it turned northbound onto the Interstate 75 ramp, deputies said. One of the suspects fled from the vehicle prior to it stopping and the other one directly after the crash. Both suspects were apprehended in the immediate area with the assistance of Air Service and were transported to Florida Hospital on Fletcher avenue.
“The incident demonstrates well the chain reaction of what happens when a vehicle burglary occurs, most often when residents do not lock the car door,” said Hillsborough County detective Larry McKinnon.
On a positive note, McKinnon added that the incident also shows what happens when residents are alert.
“Vigilance paid off, and thanks to the quick thinking and reasonable assistance on the part of a witness, both suspects were caught,” he said.
The investigation continues and additional charges will be added, deputies said.