Florida Highway Patrol troopers arrested three teenagers who face charges related to auto burglary, eluding officers, and possession of firearms after being accused of nearly a dozen auto burglaries in Tampa, then fleeing to Osceola County.
Tampa police received multiple reports about car burglaries Wednesday morning, which all happened within one mile of each other. Six vehicles had been burglarized in the area of North Himes Ave and West Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Tampa around 11:30 a.m. In one instance, a gun had been stolen from a victim's car.
A witness to the auto burglaries gave officers the details of the vehicle the suspects were driving, including the license plate.
Less than an hour later, additional 911 calls began coming in, reporting more car burglaries that had again happened in close proximity to each other, this time in the area of Ybor City. Two complaints listed a white Honda SUV as the suspect vehicle, and one witness was able to record a tag number from the car.
Investigators said the tag matched a 2017 white Honda CR-V had been reported stolen to the Kissimmee Police Department.
Officers spotted the suspect's vehicle around 1 p.m. in the East Tampa area and tried to pull the SUV over, but the suspects refused to stop and led police on a chase.
Tampa police contacted the Florida Highway Patrol to assist with the pursuit as they got on Interstate 4 eastbound.
FHP troopers took over the pursuit in Polk County, where the suspects took exit 55 for US-27 and headed northbound before continuing east on US-192.
"We had our air service up in the air, they were able to monitor from above, keep a safe distance and then our patrol officers can pull back. You can't get away from the eye of a helicopter in the air," said Eddy Durkin, a spokesperson for TPD.
The SUV ended up crashing into another vehicle at US-192 and Westside Blvd in Osceola County just before 2 p.m., seriously injuring the 57-year-old driver in the other car. That driver had to be hospitalized.
FHP troopers arrived shortly after the crash and arrested three suspects.
The 16-year-old driver of the stolen SUV was transported to a nearby hospital. He faces charges of fleeing to elude, grand theft auto, and auto burglary.
Two other suspects in the vehicle, 18-year-old Alonso Maxine and 19-year-old Jonathan Desroches, are charged with auto burglary.
Police said Desroches was in possession of a handgun when he was arrested. Additional firearms were seen in the vehicle