Pinellas Kids’ Crime Spree Ends In Spring Hill:
Three kids, ages 12 to 16, were arrested Sunday after a crime spree allegedly began in Pinellas County, entered Pasco and ended in Hernando.
SPRING HILL, FL — A meetup between several Pinellas County kids at a park in St. Petersburg on Sunday allegedly kicked off a crime spree that included about 30 auto burglaries and the theft of a car. While Pinellas County deputies flattened three of the tires on the stolen car back in Palm Harbor, Hernando County deputies are credited with making the arrests after the kids reportedly traveled into Spring Hill.
According to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, New Port Richey Police officers notified deputies of a stolen vehicle pursuit that was entering Hernando on Commercial Way on July 30. Officers were pursuing a 2017 Chevrolet Cruz that had been reported stolen in Pinellas County, an email from the Hernando sheriff’s office said.
Hernando deputies did not join the pursuit, but closed intersections along Commercial Way (U.S. 19) in Spring Hill to assist in the effort and help keep local motorists safe, the email said.
When the pursuit neared the intersection of Commercial Way and Forest Oaks Boulevard, New Port Richey police discontinued following the car, the sheriff’s office reported.
“Upon seeing the marked patrol cars disengage from the pursuit and turn around to head back to New Port Richey, the driver of the stolen vehicle stopped and abandoned the vehicle in the area of Commercial Way and River Country Drive,” the sheriff’s office email said. “Deputies later noted that the tires and wheels on the stolen vehicle were severely crippled, as it had been driven from Palm Harbor with three punctured tires.”
About that time, Hernando deputies caught up to the abandoned vehicle and saw two people fleeting the area on foot. A 12-year-old boy from St. Petersburg and a 16-year-old boy from Largo were brought into custody at that time.
Shortly after bringing the two into custody, deputies learned there were more suspects involved. A third boy, a 14-year-old from Largo, was brought into custody after a business reported spotting him near Northcliffe Boulevard, the sheriff’s office said.
The 14-year-old “lied to detectives regarding how he got to Spring Hill,” the sheriff’s office said. The other two boys, however, “became cooperative with detectives and confessed regarding their involvement.”
The two teens told deputies the 14-year-old drove the stolen car. They also identified a fourth suspect, who has not yet been arrested.
The boys told a Hernando detective they met up at a St. Petersburg park and left to “go steal cars,” the email said. “They also admitted to committing approximately 30 vehicle burglaries before leaving Pinellas County.”
The 14-year-old was charged with grand theft auto and released to his parents. The 12-year-old was charged with principle to grand theft auto and released to his parents. The 16-year-old was also charged as being a principle to grand theft auto, but was sent to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Ocala, the sheriff’s office noted. Further charges are pending out of New Port Richey, including reckless endangerment and fleeing to elude, the sheriff’s office said.