Deputies: 3 captured in string of Clay County car burglaries
3 from Jacksonville stole items from 19 cars in Eagle Harbor, deputies say
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Three suspects in a string of overnight car break-ins in the Eagle Harbor subdivision were captured Monday morning by Clay County deputies, the sheriff's office said.
Derrian Williams, 18, Daniel Fulton, 19, and Keyo Crosdale, 19 -- all from the Northside of Jacksonville -- were arrested in connection with the thefts, which included laptops, lawn equipment, cellphones, GPS devices and a skateboard, deputies said.
Detective James Murphy said the men came to the area because they saw a post on Facebook about someone making a lot of money doing lawn care.
"I think it is one of the things that drew them to the neighborhood," Murphy said. "Again, our tip is if you are making a lot of money or if you have expensive items, don't put that on social media and invite them to your neighborhood."
Deputies confirmed that 19 vehicles and one garage in the Eagle Harbor area were targeted by the men, but it's possible that number could climb. Residents estimated the total closer to 30 cars.
Murphy said the items stolen were worth several thousand dollars.
Deputies said all the vehicles that were burglarized were unlocked, and the men used a garage door opener in one of the vehicles to break into the garage.
“If you like it, lock it. That's extremely important,” Murphy said. “It's a crime of opportunity, so if you lock the vehicle, the opportunity goes away.”
One of the suspects told deputies that the break-ins began around midnight. They were reported to the Clay County Sheriff's Office about 4:15 a.m., and over 30 officers, including K-9 units, responded to the Eagle Harbor neighborhood to find the men.
"Somebody came to our county and committed a crime, and we're going to catch them," Murphy said.
David Haseltine's surveillance video captured the three men being cornered at a dead end by a deputy and then jumping out of their vehicle and running away.
“It was crazy. This is an investment that came in handy,” Haseltine said of his surveillance cameras.
One of the men who ran away grabbed a backpack filled with stolen items, Murphy said. He said the suspect left a trail of items as he dropped them because the backpack was too heavy.
Deputies captured one of the three suspects Monday morning but continued to look for the other two in the neighborhood directly behind Fleming Island Elementary School until about 10 a.m. Monday, when they arrested the final suspect.
While News4Jax was in the neighborhood covering the search, several deputies jumped into their cars and drove off with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
News4Jax saw a lieutenant get out of a car and stop the second suspect, commanding him to get down on the ground. The suspect was arrested. He said he was tired of running and that's why he came out of a wooded area by the school where he had been hiding near a soccer practice.
WATCH: Clay County suspect captured
Deputies caught the final suspect nearby shortly after the second one was arrested.
Deputies originally thought one of the suspects was armed because there were rumors a gun was stolen from one of the cars, but no gun was officially reported stolen, Murphy said.
Deputies said the men will face charges for multiple burglaries and will be in court Tuesday morning.
Some of the stolen items have already been returned to the victims, deputies said.
Ethan Wichtendahl's Jetta was one of the burglarized cars.
“I had everything in my wallet – all my credit cards, money. Hopefully, it's all in there, but I doubt it,” Wichtendahl said. "I don't even know how they got in there. It was locked, and there's no damage at all. It was parked right in front of my house."
Another woman said her car wasn’t broken into, but she awakened to quite a scare with deputies all over her neighborhood.
"I saw the police with the K-9s and thought it was my neighbor, then thought, 'Whoa, there are two more running behind,'" Robin Smith said.
Smith said it's not surprising that the suspects were hiding in the neighborhood for hours because it can be tricky to navigate for those not familiar with the roads.
"You get down in this area, and there's no way out," she said.
Neighbors said this is the second time this month that cars have been burglarized in their neighborhood.
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