More charges filed in Bradenton car thefts, 15 cars recovered

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 11:31 AM EDT
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BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - Bradenton Police confirm that four juveniles are facing charges after several vehicles were stolen from an auto body shop. More charges are currently pending.

This is in connection with the incident that occurred last weekend at a Bradenton Body Shop. Multiple suspects broke into the business in the 800 block of 11th Avenue W., between 7 and 10 a.m. and stole the keys to the vehicles and removed them from the property. Initial reports said at least 12 cars were stolen. That number is now up to 15 cars.

At noon, the same day, two of the stolen vehicles crashed. One of the cars was found engulfed in flames and the other hit the roof of a home, according to BPD.

A juvenile driver sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries and is now in the hospital. The second driver left the scene of the crash.

The hospitalized driver, one of the four suspects charged, faces charges of motor vehicle theft, reckless driving and driving without a driver’s license.

ABC7 received an exclusive statement from the mother of one of the people who had their car stolen from the shop.

“I got a phone call from my mom around 2:30 (Sunday) because a sheriff was there asking questions about my son being in an accident. I immediately began to shake, I hung up and called my son and that’s when we found out by way of a video circulating on Facebook that his truck had been wrecked. It had been stolen from an auto body shop. Although I was angry, I was glad my son was OK and glad that there weren’t any fatalities. I pray that all involved are okay but at the same time I hope they take responsibility for their actions. It’s only by God’s grace that someone wasn’t killed,” said Tonia Martinez.

Bradenton Police Public Information Officer Meredith Framelli tells ABC7 that charges are pending against 3 other juveniles.