Five Orlando teenagers recently engaged in a nighttime smorgasbord of criminal activity until they were arrested by the Polk County Sheriff's Office. The alleged crimes range from grand theft auto to minor theft. Several law enforcement offices were involved in tracking and arresting the suspects.
Police were first alerted to the quintet's illegal activities when a Florida Highway Patrol deputy saw a Jeep Renegade traveling at 117 mph on Interstate 4 at 11:55 p.m. The deputy followed the Jeep, but lost contact when the driver turned off the Jeep's headlights.
Shortly afterward, Auburndale police were called to investigate a burglary at ACE Wireless. Police found evidence of a burglary at the site. Only minutes later, at about 12:43 p.m., a Lake Alfred Police officer notified Polk County deputies that he was following a Jeep Renegade that was headed north on State Road 557 toward I-4.
Police officers placed stop sticks -- metal strips with sharp teeth intended to shred the tires of any vehicle that passed over them -- on the highway. The tires on the Jeep were shredded when it crossed over the stop sticks, and the five occupants attempted to flee on foot. Four were arrested immediately, and the fifth was arrested a short time later.
Inside the Jeep, police found a duffel bag, a laptop, two cash registers and 15 Apple iPhones. Police have alleged that these items were stolen from ACE Wireless. Two of the suspects are 18, and three are 16. Police charged all five suspects with burglary and grand theft, and the three younger men were also charged with resisting arrest and trespassing.
The five suspects in this case face serious criminal charges. If convicted, the two older men may face severe sentences because of their prior criminal convictions. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice on possible defenses, the strength of the prosecution's case and the likelihood of negotiating a favorable plea agreement.