COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Collier County Sheriff's deputies arrested a 23-year-old man yesterday, accused of stealing a car, ditching it on the side of I-75 and then fleeing into the brush along Alligator Alley.
Anthony Brown was ultimately apprehended by a K9, and now faces charges of grand theft auto, resisting without violence, and driving with a revoked license.
Deputies received a call of a suspicious person on Sunday around 5:00 a.m. from the rest stop at mile marker 63. The security guard called CCSO after Brown had asked for help, and then asked the guard not to call deputies. Brown claimed his vehicle had run out of gas. After he realized the guard had called authorities, Brown allegedly stole his cell phone and ran east on I-75.
Deputies found a 2011 white Kia 4-door found, stopped just west of mile marker 63 and ran its tag. In doing so, they found the vehicle had been reported as stolen out of Charlotte County earlier the same day.
At the same time, CCSO began receiving multiple calls of a suspicious person around mile marker 58. Callers said the man was attempting to flag down vehicles for a ride. At this time, aviation and K9 units were called to locate the suspect, who was found hiding in the brush.
The victim told deputies a man he didn't know stole the car from him while he was at a gas station in Lee County. He said he was giving the suspect a ride and helping him rent a hotel room, when the vehicle was stolen from him.
At the time of his apprehension, Brown was found in only blue boxers, according to his arrest report. At first, he denied driving the stolen vehicle. Brown allegedly said he had been riding around in the vehicle as a passenger, and that they had been drinking and doing drugs. He said he was not sure how they ended up on I-75, or where they were going.
Brown then recanted his statements and said that he and the victim had gotten into an argument over drugs, alcohol and money. Brown said he stopped at the rest stop to ask for help because he was lost and the vehicle would no longer run.
The owner of the vehicle arrived on the scene to claim his vehicle and told deputies that he was sleeping when his son took his car. He said that his son later told him someone had stolen the vehicle from him.
Brown was taken to the hospital to be treated for a dog bite sustained during the apprehension, and then taken to the Naples Jail