SARASOTA - The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested five members of a south Florida crime ring who they say committed several smash and grab vehicle burglaries in Sarasota on Tuesday and then used the victims’ credit cards at area stores.
According to the sheriff's office, around 7pm Tuesday, two women noticed their vehicle windows were smashed and purses stolen outside of Funtastics Gymnastics & Cheerleading on Ashton Road. Deputies investigating that crime received a report of three additional vehicle burglaries at Twin Lakes Park on Clark Road.
Within the hour, the Tactical Unit was able to identify locations where the stolen credit cards were being used. TAC deputies located two suspicious vehicles at the Cattlemen Road Walmart and stopped them as they left the parking lot. Detectives viewed store surveillance video which showed the suspects using the stolen credit cards. Some of the suspects had existing warrants or committed other offenses during this investigation.
Arrested were five Ft. Lauderdale residents: 27-year-old Marcus Thomas, 24-year-old Christopher Pierre, 25-year-old Jackie McBurrows, 29-year-old Lionel Bain, Jr., and 29-year-old.
The suspects are facing some 49 charges all totaled, including multiple counts of Vehicle Burglary, Criminal Use of Personal Information, Fleeing to Elude and Providing False Names to Law Enforcement while Legally Detained. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending.
Detectives are trying to locate additional suspects, including a woman seen using one of the victim’s credit cards at CVS in the 5200 block of Clark Road.
Anyone with information about these suspects is encouraged to call Criminal Investigations at 941-861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477), or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com or via text message by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637).
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office once again would remind citizens not to leave valuables or purses in their vehicles to help prevent this crime of opportunity.