SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The man who planned the robbery of a Longboat Key couple has been sentenced to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of early release.
Latarious Harvey was found guilty earlier this month after he and Eric Dudley committed the crime in April 2018.
In April 2018, a husband and wife enjoyed a meal at Bonefish Grill in Bradenton before stopping at Wal-Mart on Cortez Road. They then drove home to the Islander Club in Longboat Key. But their new Mercedes Benz convertible attracted the attention of Latarious Harvey.
Prosecutors say Harvey and two accomplices spotted the couple at Wal-Mart and followed them home. Harvey and a second masked gunman held the couple at gunpoint in an attempt to steal the car. But neither could figure out how to get the car in drive.
Ultimately the pair gave up, instead stealing a Rolex, wallet, purse and miscellaneous credit cards and cash.
Police caught up to Harvey as he fled the scene and the chase reached speeds of over 100mph up U.S. 41 until Harvey crashed in Oneco in Bradenton. Harvey was caught, but his two accomplices escaped.
Detectives used phone records, license plate readers and surveillance video to arrest the accomplices, identified as Travis Cooper and Eric Dudley.
Dudley pleaded guilty in January 2019 and was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
Cooper turned state's witness, testifying against Harvey at trial. Cooper testified that it was Harvey's plan to steal the car because Harvey had a contact in Miami that could give him $15,000 for it.
Prosecutors say while behind bars awaiting trial, Harvey used another inmate's PIN number to make phone calls from jail to a psychic in Kissimmee. During the calls, he confessed to the crime.
Harvey had been released from prison in 2017 for selling fentanyl to an undercover police officer. Because he was a Prison Releasee Reoffender, he faced life in prison after being convicted of armed robbery, armed burglary, fleeing to elude a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer without violence and driving while license suspended.