Deputies: Crime spree ends in high-speed chase

Bradford County booking photo of Cierra Camel
Bradford County booking photo of Cierra Camel

PALATKA, Fla. – A crime spree that involved a stolen car in Gainesville and two cases of shoplifting in Putnam County ended late Saturday night in Bradford County after a high-speed chase, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

Cierra Letica Camel, 28 of Wauchula, was taken into custody in Bradford County, deputies said.

Putnam deputies received a call about 3 a.m. Saturday about a shoplifting incident at the Kangaroo Express in East Palatka. The clerk reported that a woman, later identified as Camel, walked into the store, grabbed two cartons of cigarettes and left without paying. The clerk followed Camel out of the store and was able to recover one carton. The clerk also was able to record the license number on the Camel's Honda car, and deputies discovered that the car had been reported stolen in Gainesville.

About an hour later the clerk at the Kangaroo Express store in San Mateo reported that Camel entered the store and requested several lottery tickets and then left without paying for them. The second clerk was also able to spot the license plate on Camel's Honda.

A notice was put out for Camel and the car, and about 11 p.m. Saturday, a Palatka police officer spotted the car at 19th and Madison streets in Palatka. Putnam County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Chris Bohannon attempted to stop Camel, but she made her way to Reid Street and State Highway 100 westbound. During the chase, Bohannon reported speeds in excess of 100 mph. Since there was little traffic on the highway at that time of night, Bohannon continued the pursuit, deputies said.

Deputy Justin Lewis was in west Putnam County and was able to put out "stop sticks" on the highway at Putnam Hall. As the stolen car traveled over the "stop sticks" two tires were deflated, but Camel continued to flee westbound. Bohannon finally called off the pursuit at the Bradford County line when they encountered more traffic, and Camel started driving toward other cars, forcing them off the road.

Bradford County Sheriff's Office deputies were finally able to stop Camel when they also deployed additional "stop sticks" and deflated the two remaining tires on the vehicle, deputies said.

Camel was taken into custody in Bradford County and charged with fleeing/eluding police, possession of cocaine and possession of drug equipment, as well as other traffic violations.

Complaint affidavits will be filed against her in Putnam County for shoplifting and fleeing and attempting to elude, deputies said.