Teen arrested in car burglary; 2nd man sought

NOCATEE, Fla. – An 18-year-old Jacksonville man was arrested and a second man is being sought in connection with at least two early morning car burglaries Wednesday in St. Johns County.

De Vante Johnson is charged with two counts of burglary to a vehicle and one count each of possession of burglary tools, petit theft, possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

St. Johns County deputies said the investigation began by an off-duty Jacksonville police officer who was driving home from a shift at about 4:20 a.m. when he spotted a car burglary in progress in front of a home in the 200 block of Howland Drive in Nocatee.

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of De Vante Johnson
St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of De Vante Johnson

Johnson, who was stopped at gunpoint, was taken into custody without incident, deputies said. They said he is also charged in connection with a burglary to a vehicle in the 300 block of Howland Drive.

"When the JSO officer saw them, they were inside a car," Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan said. "They were actually actively going through a car. The vehicle they used to get there, they arrested the individual. We searched that car and did, in fact, find a lot of items that we believe to be stolen."

Deputies and K-9 units responded to the area to search for the second man, who was not found.

A 2010 Honda Fit found nearby belonged to a relative of Johnson's and was seized, deputies said.

They said additional charges are pending against Johnson and other suspects as the investigation continues.

Shayna Brady said her husband's car was broken into Wednesday morning.

"They stole a can koozie full of change, and some chains out of the trunk that he uses for his vehicles at work," Brady said.

Deputies said home surveillance video caught a car burglary suspect on camera last week, and they said Johnson matches the description. They said the two suspects in Wednesday's break-ins may be the same ones who hit about 16 locked and unlocked cars on Princess Drive in Nocatee last week.

"It's a probability, but right now it's not a confirmation," Mulligan said.

"You can't just let people walk around out there thinking they can do things like that and just get away with it," Brady said. "I wish the best really for him. Hopefully this is something he can just learn from and move on in the right direction."