PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- A K9 with the Punta Gorda Police Department is being credited with subduing two vehicle burglary suspects last night.
On Tuesday, just before midnight, an alert Riverside Behavioral Center employee and a second witness observed three males checking several vehicles’ door handles in the parking lot and called police. Minutes later, Punta Gorda Police arrived at the location and observed the males leaving the area.
After requesting they talk with officers, all three males fled on foot through an open field. Canine Jedi arrived moments later and joined the chase, apprehending one male at the intersection of Mary Street and East Virginia Avenue. After the suspect was secured in handcuffs, Canine Jedi began a track for the other two suspects. After tracking for a few blocks, Canine Jedi located the second suspect, a 15-year-old boy, hiding behind a wall at a nearby residence.
That suspect was found to be in possession of a pair of socks, which officers believed he was using as gloves in his effort to enter vehicles and avoid leaving fingerprints. He was also in possession of two lighters (a low-light source) and a pair of meat scissors, possibly to open locked center consoles and glove compartments.
Due to the quick action of the two witnesses, officers determined that the juveniles never got the opportunity to enter any of the vehicles. They were both subsequently charged with Loitering and Prowling and Resisting Arrest Without Violence. Additionally, the 15-year-old was charged with Possession of Burglary Tools. At this time, a third subject is still at large and officers are following up on leads as to the identity of the suspect.
Anyone with information on the identity of the third suspect is asked to call Detective Corporal Terry Cochran at (941) 575-5527. Information also can be provided to Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS. Crime Stoppers callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.