Suncoast authorities catch 2 suspects in the act of a smash and grab

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BRADENTON, FL. - A team of law enforcement agencies who monitored a rash of smash and grab burglaries along the Suncoast says they caught 2 suspects in the act.

They also say the men could be responsible for more than 20 similar business burglaries in Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee and Desoto counties.

According to authorities, 47-year-old Louis Rivera and 39-year-old Scott Thibodeau were arrested as they were breaking into the BP gas station on the 6800 block of 14th Street in Bradenton around 10:30 pm Wednesday.

A team consisting of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Palmetto Police Department, and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office was formed to monitor their activities. The suspects were observed by the team as they arrived at the gas station.

Rivera exited the vehicle driven by Thibodaeu, approached the front door of the business, and smashed it in with a hammer. Rivera then made entry, pried open the cash register and was greeted by a host of team members.

Both were arrested without incident and charged with burglary, criminal mischief, and possession of burglary tools. Thibodeau was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Several more burglary charges from many jurisdictions will be filed in the days to come. Two female passengers found in the vehicle have not been charged at this time.