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Burglars caught after inadvertently breaking into deputy's personal vehicle

Deputies: Trio had been committing vehicle burglaries throughout night

Booking photos of Cecil Whitehead, Michael Newton courtesy of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – Three burglars who inadvertently broke into a deputy's personal vehicle were caught shortly afterward, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said the trio of burglars were making their rounds early Saturday when their crime spree was cut short.

Detective Lt. Chris Sharpe was awakened by the sound of a vehicle's engine near his home and went to investigate, deputies said.

As Sharpe alerted patrol units to the suspicious vehicle in his neighborhood, he learned that a vehicle matching its description had been seen at an earlier burglary, according to the Sheriff's Office.

When the vehicle was stopped, two men -- identified as Cecil Whitehead, 19, Michael Newton, 19 -- and a 17-year-old boy were detained, deputies said. An investigation revealed the trio had been committing vehicle burglaries throughout the night.

Deputies said eight cases have been linked to the trio.

Whitehead, Newton and the 17-year-old boy were arrested on charges of burglary, possession of burglary tools and theft. Deputies said they were booked into the Columbia County Detention Facility with Whitehead's bond being $76,000 and Newton's bond being $51,000.

The 17-year-old boy will be transferred to the Department of Juvenile Justice, deputies said.