Chief makes another off-duty arrest

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Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013 3:10 pm | Updated: 6:04 pm, Mon Jun 10, 2013.

Chief Bernadette DiPino had just finished having lunch on the Sarasota Bayfront when she heard a call on her car radio about a mugging near Newtown with a getaway car heading south on US 41.

Even though she had her daughter with her on vacation, DiPino headed north on the Trail to see if she could find the blue SUV in question. She found it near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center.

"I immediately did a u-turn, got behind it, called for other units and said, 'I think I've got the suspect vehicle,'" she recounted.

Officers arrived and arrested two men and a woman inside for strong arm robbery.

DiPino's daughter, Tabitha Hays, was on vacation from her job as an officer in Baltimore County, Maryland. She said she wasn't surprised at her mother's dedication.

"No, not at all, policing is in her blood. Sometimes being in the right place at the right time," Hays said.

This is not the first time the chief has made an arrest while off-duty. Back on her first day on the job on January 1st, she helped make an arrest after a stabbing in a parking lot on State Street in downtown Sarasota.

But DiPino says this one was extra special.

"To do it with my daughter there, it was exciting, and she's got some exciting vacation memories now too," DiPino laughed.

Hays says she's already told her colleagues about the incident back in Baltimore County.

"I texted them the day of the incident and they said, 'Can't you just go sit on the beach and relax?'"

Daughter and mom plan to spend Monday doing just that--unless mom hears something on the radio that pulls her back on the job.

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